1981 Horatio Alger Award Winner
"I think if I had it to do over again, I might have started my own business."
Born in 1917, in Bridgeport, Connecticut, John O'Connor was sent to live with various foster families before he was a year old when his parents separated. His mother moved to New York and visited him on weekends. When O'Connor was 14, he joined his mother, who was living with her father and several sisters in New York City. He took a job as a pageboy with National City Bank (now Citibank), while attending school. After his high school graduation, he attended Columbia University in the evenings for two years on a bank scholarship and then studied finance at Pace Institute Evening College.
In 1942, O'Connor enlisted in the Air Force and served as a B-17 commander in Italy during World War II. He flew 50 bombing missions. When he left the Air Force, he returned to Citibank. He rose to the rank of vice president before retiring in 1975. He moved to Florida, where he joined Miami National Bank as executive vice president. In 1978, he became president and a member of the board. He retired from Miami National in 1981.* Deceased