Joseph Benedict O’Connor, III

February 9, 1947 - April 30, 2022
Joseph Benedict O’Connor, III

Joseph B. O’Connor, age 75, passed away on Saturday, April 30, 2022. He was born on February 9, 1947, in Linz Austria, to the late Joseph B. O’Connor Jr. and Irmtraut O’Connor.

Joseph is survived by his wife of 48 years, Nancy O’Connor; children Angela O’Connor, Joseph B. O’Connor IV, Catherine O’Connor Hudson, Eileen O’Connor, and Christopher O’Connor; grandchildren Timothy, Summer, Harper, and RJ; and great grandchild Oakliee. He is also survived by his siblings Eileen O’Connor, Roderick O’Connor, and Loren O’Connor.

Joe loved his family with all he was. In 1972, Joe met the love of his life, Nancy Beaty. They married in 1973 and started a family shortly after. He was stubborn, funny, silly, and loving. The memories he created with his family will be cherished forever.

Joe loved the water, working as a fisherman, clammer, and tugboat captain throughout his life. He found peace in the ocean and had salt in his veins. After serving 3 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, at 20 years old, Joe settled in Carolina Beach becoming best friends with Doug Batson and working with him on the Cheerio Lady for the next 10 years. He then struck out as his own boss on the Feel Free dragging his mates beyond their comfort zone and bringing the best catch back to the docks. He was one of the few strong enough to tong the south end for clams using the extra money to provide for his family. Eventually, Joe ended up on dredge projects earning the experience on larger vessels. He then became a tugboat captain, traveling up and down the east coast where he spent the remainder of his career.

There will be a Memorial Service for Joe on Thursday, May 5, 2022 at Seaside Chapel starting at 3:00pm.

Please leave memories and condolences for Joe’s family by clicking the “Post a Condolence” tab below.

Wilmington Funeral & Cremation – Wilmington Chapel – 1535 S. 41st Street Wilmington, NC 28403 910.791.9099


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  • May 02, 2022
    Rachel and Chip Taylor lit a candle:
    Lit since May 2, 2022 at 5:18:19 PM

  • May 03, 2022
    Mary B says:
    What a memorable picture of the Joe we knew, as Capt Doug's great friend and First Mate on the Cheerio in the good ole days of packed headboat fishing trips. Joe was always grinning and always had an interesting story or experience to share that invariably made you grin too! So glad to have those good memories with you, Nancy, ...thankful to have known such a sweet, happy guy as your Capt Joe.

  • May 03, 2022
    Linda E Benson lit a candle:
    Lit since May 3, 2022 at 5:10:19 AM

  • May 03, 2022
    Robbie Johnson says:
    I am deeply saddened by this news as I’ve spent many many days fishing with Joe on the FEEL FREE, and I can assure the name fits him perfectly when he was on that boat. A true waterman if there ever was one, Joe taught me more about the ocean, fishing and the value of hard work than anyone I have ever known outside of my Father. I respected him more than I could ever say and deepest sympathy is expressed. I love you Joe and will see you soon my friend. Sail safe and Feel Free for eternity…

  • May 03, 2022
    Mark Batson says:
    We're all thinking of you in your time of loss. I can only imagine heaven right now. I bet my dad had a fishing pole all bated up for his buddy Joe and they're fishing on the river of life right now.