Daniel V. Connor, Northumberland student, war hero, teacher, father and friend was honored at a luncheon Saturday by those who knew him best.
Family, friends, colleagues and most of all, former students, gathered in the O. A. Brinkley Fellowship Hall at First Baptist Church in Heathsville to pay homage to this beloved man who once held the hearts and hands of so many Northumberland County students.
Connor received his own elementary and secondary education in Northumberland schools. He received his BS Degree in Science from Virginia State University in Petersburg. He also undertook graduate studies at New York University and received his Masters Degree in Administration and Supervision from Virginia Commonwealth University.
During World War II, from 1942 to 1946, he saw duty with the 13th and 5th Army Air Force and spent 32 months in the South Pacific seeing duty on Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Leyte and Luzon in the Philippines, Okinawa, and Japan. For his distinguished service he received four Bronze Stars during his tours of duty.
Connor’s teaching career carried over 36 years. He began his teaching career in 1947 at Julius Rosenwald High School, where his goal was “Teach one, reach one,” and his action plan was to teach by example. He also coached basketball and baseball teams. Baseball, especially, has been a passion for him. Connor went on to teach at Central High School, Northumberland Middle School and Northumberland High School. He also served as the first Black Assistant Principal at the Northumberland High School.
Connor, now 93 years old, has been married to Ilva Thompson Connor for 52 years. They have five children: Cheryl, (certified microbiologist), Dannette (senior research biologist, scientific outreach manager), Daniel (area quality assistance manager), Odeane (physician) and Lawanda (operator/trainer in City Bank of Chicago). They also have seven grandchildren: Janel, Derell, LeNette, Daniel, Brandan, Jermy and Lauren, also one great-grandchild, O’Connor.
Connor has been a member of the Callao Rescue Squad and the Mid-County rescue Squad.
Connor is a member of First
Baptist Church of Heathsville. He believes his commitment to life is : “To let the love of christ shine in me and through me in order to positively impact the lives of those I meet and teach.”
“As a teacher, Mr. Connor was a part-time father,a confidant, an advisor, a disciplinarian, a friend and a source of inspiration to all of his students. He often shared or gave his lunch to a hungry student, or handed them some change to buy their lunch from the school cafeteria.”
He was sometimes seen giving students a ride home when they needed it. For so many students and so many times, Connor was there for them to lean on and give support and guidance, not expecting, or asking anything in return.
So for all those times and so much more, his former students and friends filled the O. A. Brinkley Fellowship Hall on March 30, 2013, to sing his praises and give back a measure of their love and respect for what he had done for them.