WORCESTER-Coralie M. O'Connor, 85, Olympic Swimmer and Life-long City Educator passed away Tuesday, December 31.
Coralie's desire to become a world-class swimmer surfaced early and drove her to practice no matter what the obstacles. She began her training at the Lincoln Square Boys Club, during a time when woman were not allowed in the Club. As a recent graduate of Classical High School, she qualified for the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, Finland by finishing third in the nationals in the 100-meter backstroke. O'Connor's swimming feats didn't end with the Olympics. In 1955 while a junior at Purdue, she was the National AAU backstroke champion and an All-American. That same year, she competed in the Pan American Games in Mexico City and won a silver medal in the 100-meter backstroke and a gold medal with the relay medley team.
Coralie founded the Worcester Swim Club, teaching competitive swimming to countless city youngsters. Although she always had regrets of never producing an Olympian, the WSC won many team and individual trophies. She was a member of the national Swimming Hall of Fame and the first woman to be inducted into the Worcester Boys and Girls Club Hall of Fame, she was also the first woman to coach a male varsity sport at Worcester Academy in the 70s.
Coralie also spent more than three decades teaching physical education in the Worcester public schools, most recently at South High School. She was a longtime member and volunteer at All Saints Church.
She leaves a niece, Suzanne Criswell and her husband, Gary; a nephew, Paul Garcia and his wife, Kim; great-nephews, Chad Minton and his wife, Christina and their son, Luke, Scott Minton and his wife, Caitlin, Connor Garcia and Brandon Garcia and three cousins, Donna Scott, Gayle Turner and Coral Prince-Wilson. Her brother, Paul H. O'Connor and her sister, Lois Ann Garcia predeceased her.
A Funeral Service to Celebrate Coralie's life will be held Saturday, January 11 at 11am in All Saints Church, 10 Irving Street. Burial was held privately in Rural Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to, American Cancer Society at www.cancer.org. Arrangements in the care of Callahan Fay Caswell Funeral Home, 61 Myrtle Street.