11/22/2009 05:48 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Just Days Apart, New York Times Mourns Two John J. O'Connors

Chalk it up to a coincidence, but within the span of a week the New York Times ran obituaries for two people named John J. O'Connor.

The first announced the death of the husband of former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who retired from the Supreme Court to care for him. That O'Connor, more widely known as John Jay O'Connor, died of complications of Alzheimer's disease on Wednesday, November 11. He was 79.

Then, just two days later, former NYT television critic John J. O'Connor died of lung cancer. He was 76. The Times ran an obituary for their O'Connor a few days afterward.

These aren't the only John J. O'Connors to be memorialized in the Times pages. The international food marketer died in 1996 at age 65 of complications from heart surgery. Back in 1904, the Times marked the death of a bishop with the name (cause of death unspecified).

There does seem to be a strong history of the Irish-named John J. O'Connors to make names for themselves as members of the Church. The Spokane Daily Chronicle reported the death of a priest with the name in 1966, victim of a heart attack.

But not all John J. O'Connors are spiritual advisers, civic leaders or prolific reviewers. There's always a fallback profession for those with the strikingly common name: funeral attendant.