Miss Jean E. O'Rourke, 87, a longtime Brookline resident, died Mon. May 26, 2014 at Belmont Manor after a period of declining health. Born and raised in Warren, OH, she was the daughter of the late Lawrence J. and Laura S. (Schmitt) O'Rourke. Miss O'Rourke graduated from State University of New York-Cobleskill in 1947. She resided in New York City for most of her life, first in Greenwich Village with her sister Nancy then in Jackson Heights where she lived for many years before relocating to the Boston area 20 years ago. She began her career as a "Stewardess" with Colonial Airlines and was then employed as a Flight Attendant by Eastern Airlines for many years until her retirement. Miss O'Rourke flew with the Military Airlift Command in 1967-68 during the Vietnam War, and because of her seniority with Eastern Airlines, she qualified to fly the charter flights for the NY Jets football team in the 1970s. Miss O'Rourke travelled the world extensively while with Eastern Airlines. Her passport is covered with stamps from many exotic locations. She loved to share stories about her travels with her friends and family. Although she never married or had children of her own, Miss O'Rourke enjoyed children and while in New York City she spent time at the local hospital holding preemies in the neo-natal unit. She loved visiting her sisters and their children and continued to visit her nieces and nephews as their families grew. Miss O'Rourke thought of the New York Jets football players as "her boys" and showed great concern for them on their flights back home after a tough football game! She continued to root for the NY Jets long after her retirement from Eastern Airlines. Fiercely independent, Miss O'Rourke loved to read the New York Times and her many financial magazines. She enjoyed keeping up with the latest news about the economy and even in her last few days she could be found drinking her coffee with the newspaper spread out on the table in front of her. Miss O'Rourke was an avid volunteer throughout her life and always wanted to lend a hand. She enjoyed bringing hot tea to the doormen in her condominium building in Brookline to help them stay warm when the doors were open and she also was known to bring Police Officers working outdoor details bottles of cold water on hot Summer days. She loved gardening and had a gorgeous display of flowers and vegetables growing on her condominium balcony every Summer. She was a member of the Building and Grounds Committee at her Brookline condo and she volunteered with the cleanup and maintenance at Hall's Pond. Miss O'Rourke was also active with the Women's Lunch Place in Boston and the Family Inn in Brookline. She loved the activities at the Brookline Senior Center and frequently volunteered to bake her signature croutons and banana bread for fundraisers and events. Miss. O'Rourke had great respect and a special soft spot for Police Officers and Fire Fighters. Miss. O'Rourke was the sister of the late Mary Katherine "Kate" Durian and Nancy Ann Streb. She is survived by her nieces Brigid O. Bieber and her husband Tom of Boxborough, MA, Nancy Streb of Miami, FL and Mary (Pug) Durian Doepker of Canton, OH and her nephews Michael F. Streb and his wife Christine of Canton, OH, Larry Durian of Canton, OH, Dennis Durian of Naples, FL and many great-nieces and great-nephews. Family and friends are invited to a funeral Mass on Friday, June 6, at 1 p.m., at St. Mary of the Assumption Church, 3 Linden Place, Brookline, MA. Interment will be in St. John's Cemetery, Canton, OH at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to either the Brookline Firemen's Relief Foundation or to the Brookline Police Mutual Aid Association, Public Safety Building, 350 Washington St., Brookline, MA 02445. Memorial page online at www.actonfuneralhome.com.
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Acton Funeral Home
470 Massachusetts Ave Acton, MA 01720
Published in The Brookline Tab from May 30 to June 6, 2014