O’Connor (Halloran), 1939
Following a year in private practice in Charleston, West Virginia, Dr. O'Connor married a classmate, John Lewis Halloran, Jr. They moved to Staten Island, where the two of them worked in his father's general veterinary practice.
In 1942, at the height of the Second World War, Dr. O'Connor accepted a call to serve as veterinarian at the Staten Island Zoo. She was initially hired on an interim basis, chosen only because there were no men available to fill the position during the war. She soon gained national recognition in zoo medicine and education, and the zoo was fortunate enough to keep her on for 28 years.
Dr. O'Connor wrote numerous articles, but even more were written about her. She was an icon in the veterinary world, not so much because of her gender - though that was clearly an issue of great interest - but because of the manner in which she blended zoo medicine with public education and scientific writing, most notably in her 1955 compendium and bibliography on the pathology of wild birds and mammals.
Dr. O'Connor and
Dr. Halloran raised three children born between 1941 and 1944. After her
husband died, Dr. O'Connor kept his small-animal practice going while
continuing to carry out her zoo responsibilities. In 1998, as a capstone
to her zoo career, a wonderful dinner-tribute was held on Staten Island
to honor her legacy. The following year, Patricia O'Connor retired to
Indiana, where she could be near family and friends. She died there on
July 8, 2003.