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Life of Tempe Town Lake activities coordinator remembered

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TEMPE, Ariz. -

Friends, family and members of the valley boating community gathered Sunday at Tempe Town Lake to remember a man who drowned there during last weekend's Pat's Run.

He lived on the lake and died on the lake, and Sunday a city parks employee was remembered on the lake.

Dozens hit Tempe Town Lake for a kayak "paddle out" in memory of Joe "Okie" O'Connor on Sunday.

O'Connor, known to everyone as "Okie/Oakey," drowned in Tempe Town Lake last weekend during "Pat's Run."

The 56-year-old fell off his boat April 20 and no one was able to rescue him.

Family members say the city parks employee was passionate about Tempe Town Lake and was there almost every day.

Friends say Okie was a fair and honest man who had respect for everyone on the water.

They say the lake was his passion.

"It definitely was. He was down here everyday and he never took off. And if he took the day off, he was gone...he took the day off and he went kayaking, he went sailing," said John Ciani, a friend of Okie's. "He had a respect for all folks on the water, including fishing, and tried to get everybody working together, enjoying the water."

It's still not clear what went wrong April 20 that caused Okie to fall off the boat and into the water, which is about 20 feet deep.

Follow this story:Drowning victim identified as Tempe Town Lake activities coordinator


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