Dr. John O’Connor

Dr. John O’Connor

Dr. John O’Connor is a gastroenterologist who attributes his successful 20-yearspractice to the support and the team ork of his staff.

He hails from Stamford, Conn. He came to Villanova for his pre-med studies. He remained in Philadelphia for his medical training at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, moving on to do his training and residency at Lankenau.

While during his residency at Lankenau, his mentor was Dr. John Mercagliano, who is a leader at Main Line GI. So when Dr.O’Connor was finished at Lankenau, he branched out and came to Norristown as part of Montgomery County GI Specialists.

Today, he is a partner in The Center for GI Health with several offices in the area. He specializes in diagnosis and treatment of esophageal disorders. You may say he is quite busy due to the fact that he does up to 60 procedures in a three-day period each week. Dr. O'Connor is a true professional who is compassionate and has a kind manner about him.

As a patient of his, I learned that gastroenterology covers a larger area then I imaged. I knew about the treatment of the upper and lower G.I. areas. I did not know it included the liver and the pancreas.

Dr. O'Connor is a single dad of two sons: Mike, who is at Syracuse University in New York state, and Jack, who is at Villanova. Jack lives near enough to his dad’s home in Berwyn to make it home most nights for dinner.

Dr. O'Connor was reared in a true Italian household. So you may wonder where the “O’Connor” comes from. Well, his paternal grandfather hails from County Kerry Ireland. His maternal grandparents are from Calabria. All of his grandparents immigrated to the United States, with his parents born in the states. He is the only child of John and Marguerite (Carlucci) O’Connor.

Calabria is located in southwest Italy in the “toe” of the sunbaked region. It features rugged mountains with a dramatic coastline and its many beaches.

In Dr. O'Connor’s spare time, you can him working out — powerlifting. Being a Villanova graduate, he is naturally a huge fan of basketball, especially the Villanova team. There are at times you can find him wearing a Villanova sweatshirt over his scrubs, or a Syracuse sweatshirt.

Dr. O’Connor remembers his family kitchen and the great foods that came out of it. A lot of today’s Italian dishes started out as peasant foods. Though Mrs. O’Connor is no longer with us — Mr. O’Connor remains living in Connecticut — Dr. O’Connor shares with us his mom's recipe. A real family favorite, this dish is a real favorite of mine.

Marguerite's Pasta Fagiole

½ cup olive oil

2 cloves of garlic

1 small yellow onion, diced

2 ribs of celery, diced

Handful fresh parsley

1 carrot, shaved

½ lb. sausage, loose

black pepper to taste

1½ cans cannellini beans

¾ cup of tomato sauce

¼ cup water

1 lb. ditalini (#40 Ronin) pasta

In a medium-size pot, add olive oil, garlic, onion, celery, parsley and carrot shavings. Sauté until mixture is tender and transparent.

Add sausage meat and black pepper to taste. Add 1 can of cannellini beans with juice. Puree ½ can of cannellini beans, and add into mixture. Simmer with beans for about 15 minutes. Add tomato sauce and water. Continue to cook for additional 15 minutes. Prepare pasta according to package. Mix beans and pasta together.


Let Bette hear from you: banjack303@verizon.net. Search YouTube for “Look Who’s Cooking with Bette Banjack,” as well phoenixvillenews.com (search bar: Banjack) for this column. Find Bette on Facebook by searching “Bette Banjack’s Downtown Kitchen.” Her book, “2 Cups of Yesterday,” is available at Gateway Pharmacy or by contacting her.

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