O’Connor Mortuary Heart and Soul Award Winner

Happy New Year! We are proud to announce our Heart and Soul Award Winner for December 2011, Megan Wood of San Clemente.

A blackjack tournament is scheduled for Sunday and yoga practice begins Tuesday morning prior to a scenic trip to the beach. While this sounds like the event calendar for a five-star resort, these are just a few of the activities San Clemente’s Megan Wood is planning for a thriving community of active senior citizens.

Megan is the activities director for The Regency, a Laguna Woods-based senior living community offering both independent and assisted living options to a diverse community of residents. Her creative and enthusiastic approach to event planning has earned her the December 2011 O’Connor Mortuary Heart & Soul Award.

Created by O’Connor Mortuary, the Heart & Soul Awards program is designed to recognize Orange County citizens for their passion for life and their dedication to making a difference. Honorees are recognized for either a lifetime of endeavors or for a one-time inspirational achievement. One Orange County citizen is presented the award each month.

“Megan coordinates events for the seniors at The Regency, but she does so much more than that. She is a friend and confidant, ensuring residents enjoy every moment and lead thriving lives regardless of their age and varying degrees of independence,” said Neil O’Connor, president and CEO of O’Connor Mortuary. “Her ability and complete dedication to providing seniors with vibrant, fulfilling lives is what sets her apart and makes her a deserving recipient of the Heart & Soul Award.”

The extensive schedule of activities Wood creates and oversees includes everything from birthday parties and card games to Tai Chi, art classes and dances. Wood also takes individual requests into consideration and aims to offer something each day that piques the interest of each resident.

 “Megan is the hardest working, most self-sacrificing person I have ever met,” says The Regency’s marketing director, Dee Vallendorff. “She plans, coordinates and executes a very impressive schedule of events for our residents, and after working side-by-side with her for more than two years, I’ve honestly never been more impressed with anyone.”

As a winner of the Heart & Soul Award, O’Connor Mortuary will present Wood with an official plaque, and a donation will be made in her name to a charity of her choice.

Do you know someone who would make a great candidate for our Heart and Soul Award? If so, please let us know. Happy 2012!


Created by O’Connor Mortuary in 2010, the Heart & Soul Award honors Orange County individuals each month for their exemplary and inspiring roles within the community. In celebrating the human spirit, the award recognizes OC residents for pouring their heart and soul into making a difference, whether for a life filled with dedicated endeavors or for a one-time inspirational achievement.  One recipient is honored each month with an award plaque, a one-time donation to a local nonprofit organization in his/her name and recognition at a quarterly award reception. To nominate an outstanding Orange County citizen, email Patricia Kolstad at patricia@oconnormortuary.com.


About Neil

I was born into a large Irish Catholic family in 1967 as the youngest of seven children.

My Grandfathers were best friends & coincidentally, both owners of funeral homes. John Cox (Oakland) had Joseph A. O’Connor (Los Angeles)or “Johnny” as his best man at his wedding. My parents, Joe & Jane O’Connor, met through the friendships of my grandparents.
I moved to Laguna Niguel as a child & graduated from Dana Hills High School in 1986. I served in the Navy before finally joining the family business in 1989 and establishing the 4th generation of our family-owned & operated business. In 2000, after the retirement of my father, I became the President & CEO of O’Connor Mortuary.
I met my wife, Lisa, in Maui while on a yoga retreat in 2003 and we now have a son –
Jesse Joseph O’Connor – the pride & joy of my life.
I still actively play Beach Volleyball at Victoria Beach in Laguna Beach and practice Ashtanga Yoga, I’m extremely passionate about these practices, about staying healthy and balanced in my body, mind & soul.
As CEO I am privileged to be involved with partners in our community such as Saddleback Hospital, Mission Hospital, Age Well Senior Services, San Juan Capistrano Chamber of Commerce, TIP Trauma Intervention Program, and many others. My driving passion is to provide education, care & support to my family, friends & community.

I love helping others when they need it the most.

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