two men in the cockpit of an airplane

Connecting Flight


Last summer, American Airlines pilots Stephen O’Connor ’85 and Tom Waidlich ’05 met at the gate at Newark International Airport, just as they were about to board a two-day flight together. As they were waiting, small talk ensued. O’Connor asked Waidlich where he came in from. Western Massachusetts, Waidlich replied. O’Connor wondered which part. “I asked him if he was familiar with the area,” Waidlich related, “and he told me he went to school at a place called Williston. I said, ‘No kidding, me too!’” 

The two reminisced about their Williston days and shared details of their lives on opposite sides of the commonwealth. O’Connor spends lots of time on his boat in his home city of Marshfield, south of Boston, and has 22-year-old twins, Sara and Stephen. Waidlich lives in the village of Millers Falls in Montague, about 30 miles north of Williston, with his wife, Megan Griffin Waidlich ’05, and their 2-year-old daughter, Adelaide, in a house they built on his family’s farm. 

As they departed Newark and flew the Boeing 737 to Tulsa, and then Atlanta, the stories continued. “We had a very fun trip,” said Waidlich. It turns out both played hockey and had taken classes with some of the same teachers, despite graduating 20 years apart. “It was great reminiscing about everything we used to do at Williston.”