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Subject: Archive: Big Band Singer Pat O'Connor dies at 95

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Date Posted: Wednesday, August 01, 05:16:08pm


Patricia (O'Connor) Bellerose March 17, 1923–May 15, 2018

West Peabody, MA - Patricia F. Bellerose (born Frances Bernice O'Connor) died on May 15, 2018 at the age of 95 in West Peabody, MA after living a long life and in her last years suffering from late stage Alzheimer's Disease.

She is the last of her generation in a family where she was the daughter of Anastasia (Farley) and Edward O'Connor. Predeceased by her husband, Richard A. Bellerose in 1992 and her brothers James ("Billy") O'Connor and Edward O'Connor. She leaves a son Richard L. Bellerose and daughters Susan Stewart Cotter (John) and Carolyn McGarry (James), and she will be especially missed by her beloved grandchildren Emily and Abigail Stewart (and their father Robert) and Julia and Elizabeth McGarry, as well as her nieces Margaret "Peggy" McGann (O'Connor), Karen Carolan (O'Connor), Lynn Maute (O'Connor) and nephews Douglas O'Connor and James O'Conner and their families.

Born in Irvington, NJ, Pat graduated with Honors from Immaculate Conception High School, Montclair, NJ and worked in Newark, NJ as a clerk at Prudential Insurance before finding her true path in music as a vocalist for several orchestras in the Big Band Era. Principally, she was lead vocalist for Billy Butterfield, Lenny Love, and giant of the Swing Era, Jimmy Dorsey, among others. Traveling the country, she performed and recorded many songs familiar today as jazz standards of the time. Her NYC gigs included standing engagements at the iconic Rainbow Room and as vocalist at the Hotel Edison Green Room with the Henry Jerome Orchestra. During that time, she also competed on the televised Arthur Godfrey Talent Scouts (The American Idol of the day) and won with the prize of repeat appearances to a national audience. In the press she was called a "comely Irish songbird" noting her glamour and beauty and was featured in many publications and newspaper articles about music, and in 1946 scored the cover of Down Beat Magazine. In 1955 she married fellow musician, Richard "Dick" Bellerose, a trombonist who had played with many well-known bands such as Benny Goodman. Together they continued working in music until the 1960's when they began raising their family in Putnam, CT. She continued singing at area venues and was much sought after to perform at family weddings. Following the death of her husband, she retired to Ft. Lauderdale, FL where she had family and friends, and lived there for more than 20 years. During that time, she was a well-loved volunteer at the Cleveland Clinic, Ft. Lauderdale, took Spanish lessons, and finally learned to play the piano.

Relatives and friends are invited to visit with Patricia's family from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 in the Gilman Funeral Home and Crematory, 104 Church St., Putnam. A Mass of Christian Burial will take place at 12:00 p.m. in St. Mary Church of the Visitation Church, 218 Providence St., Putnam, CT. Burial will follow in St Mary Cemetery.

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