by Tom Leturgey
Bob O'Connor was a good man who worked for 12 years to become Pittsburgh's top guy on Grant Street.
He ran for Mayor in 1997 and 2001 but barely lost to Tom Murphy both times.
The third time was the charm as it was clearly "Bob's Turn" to become Mayor. He was clearly the nicest guy in a crowded pack of mostly Democrats. He would make eye contact with you from across the room and it made you feel like the only person in the room. He was that type of guy.
He quickly took charge of Pittsburgh and his "Redd Up" campaign was a successful clean up project to make the city sparkle for the Major League Baseball All-Star game and festivities.
When he was diagnosed with a rare brain cancer the same day the city shined for the Home Run Derby at PNC Park, the news sounded incomprehensible. Not Bob. Not the healthy, robust 61-year-old who had more energy than a man half his age.
At first, news came that he was taking the cancer treatments well. Then those positive news reports suddenly stopped. Somewhere along the line it just seemed that Bob wasn't doing well.
People prayed. People prayed A LOT. Prayer serves were held that brought hundreds of people from all faiths together downtown.
Secular radio hosts began having DAILY PRAYERS for him. Bob released an appreciative statement, thanking people for their overwhelming prayers and concerns.
It might have been those prayers and concerns that helped him hang for all those weeks.
His entire family were class acts throughout the whole ordeal, especially his wife, Judy, who attended the prayer services downtown.
Bob O'Connor did more in six months as Mayor than his predecessor, Tom Murphy did in 12 years.
The city has lost a great man on Friday, September 1. Rest in peace, Bob O'Connor.