John Duffy Connors, 79, a former director of education of the AFL-CIO and, at the time of his retirement in 1967, a special assistant to President George Meany, died of a cardiopulmonary arrest May 22 at the Bethesda Retirement & Nursing Center. He lived in Chevy Chase.

Mr. Connors was a native of Bedford, Mass. He was a graduate of Boston University and earned a doctorate in business administration at South Eastern Massachusetts University.

As a school teacher in Massachusetts in the 1920s and 1930s, he was active in union activities as a volunteer organizer. He was elected president of an American Federation of Teachers local in New York in 1932. From 1937 until 1948, he was a national vice president of the federation. He was director of the old Workers Education Bureau in New York in the late 1940s.

Mr. Connors moved to Washington in 1950 to join the American Federation of Labor's education department. He was named director of that department in 1954. When the AFL merged with the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) in 1955, he was appointed education director for the merged federation. He was appointed a special assistant to Meany in the early 1960s.

He was a labor adviser to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) from 1947 until 1955. He was a member of President Eisenhower's President's Committee on Education Beyond the High School in the mid 1950s.

Mr. Connors was a member of the John Carroll Society in Washington.

Survivors include his wife, Gertrude, of Chevy Chase.