John Stanley O'Hara

02/08/1934 - 01/07/2015 Obituary
John Stanley O'Hara Obituary
John Stanley O'Hara, 80, passed away on January 7, 2015 at his home in Bakersfield, CA, surrounded by his beloved family and friends from metastatic pancreatic cancer. He was born in Las Cruses, NM, on February 8, 1934 and grew up in El Paso, TX. He lived an incredible life by any measure. A man dedicated to education as a life-long teacher and a student of life. His list of accomplishments read like a person who lived several lives. In 1956-1958 he took an invitation to Germany from the U.S. government to work on German/American relations. It was during this time he became part of a German athletic club where he performed in track and field and weight-lifting. He went on to set 24 national and local records which some still stand today. He returned to the U.S. to continue his passion of powerlifting and was chosen as an alternate to the Olympic team of 1960, bound for Rome, which was the highlight of his weightlifting career. In 1962, he received his diploma from the University of Texas El Paso and began his life as an educator. He taught at North High School for 28 years teaching English, History, introducing karate into the school system, and together with Lew Prestige, started the "Apollo Program." He successfully overlapped his interests of weight lifting, educator, Sensei, and bonding with his family. His dojo thrived for over three decades because of his calm gentle nature, kindness, human compassion, and knowledge of kinesiology. He continued to teach and train until his final days, giving thousands not only a foundation in martial arts but a lesson in humanity. He lived by example of how to be a great person, treat others, remain humble, be confident, and continue to grow. We stand on the shoulders of a giant man. His presence will be greatly missed by all who knew this wonderful leader. He is survived by his loving wife, Catherine; children: Travis McAlister, Tracie McAlister, and Trina Mastro; sons-in-law: Daniel Navarro and Joseph Mastro; grandchildren: Zephyr, Isaac-Selah, Isabela, Rowan, and Finley. He is also preceded by his extended karate family which lists in the thousands and misses him greatly.
His service will be held on February 6, 2015, at 2:00 p.m. at Bakersfield National Cemetery, located at 30338 East Bear Mountain Blvd., Arvin, CA, 93203
In lieu of flowers a memorial fund has been set up at
Published in Bakersfield Californian from Feb. 5 to Feb. 6, 2015
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