Roy O'Conner is an Education graduate of Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana, where he was on the varsity wrestling team. Following graduation, he taught middle school and coached football, wrestling, and track at the high school level before becoming an Air Traffic Controller for the Federal Aviation Administration. He remained a controller for 25 years at various locations in Indiana and Illinois, including Chicago O'Hare and St. Louis Lambert airports, retiring in 1997.
Since 'retirement,' he has worked as a project manager in Indianapolis, Indiana, commuting weekly from Glen Carbon, Illinois, where he lives with Joan, his wife of 34 years. They have two grown sons, John and Dan, and one granddaughter, Julia. In addition to pursuing his fascination with the Civil War, his hobbies include flying, genealogy, sketching and painting, serving as a hot-air balloon launch crewman, and banging on an old guitar.