John O’Connor was employed by the Fremont-Newark Community College District from September 1968, one of the founding members of the Math Department. As a Pioneer Faculty member at the Serra Campus, John was a leader in the development of the mathematics curriculum and participated in the move to the Mission Boulevard Campus in 1974. John retired in June 1998, after 30 years of dedicated and distinguished service. Upon retirement, he was granted Emeritus status.
John taught the full range of courses, and was considered by some to be the best mathematician in the department. Like many of the math faculty, he served on many campus committees. However, John became known for a special role as the official barbecue master of the campus social events.
John was also an avid cross-country runner, often found roaming the Mission Peak trails with his colleague Ron Staszkow. John’s skills as a runner were put to use one day when he saw a young man running from the women’s restroom. The man took off from Building 4, heading north through the open fields that then existed between the college and Mission San Jose. Through the grass and brambles, over the cattle fences, John followed. Several minutes later, John returned grumbling, “I would have caught him if I didn’t have my street shoes on.”