DAVID A. O'HARA, 86
WINTER HAVEN - David A. O'Hara of Brighton, MA and Winter Haven, FL passed away at his Florida home after a battle with cancer on April 10, 2013.
He leaves his long-time companion, Sue Ezell of Winter Haven, and his sister Ethel "Babe" O'Neil and her husband, Joe, both of Winter Haven and New Hampshire.
He was the loving husband to "Cis" for 43 years before her passing in 1995, also the father of David, Jr. and his wife, Donna of Canton, MA, Stephen and his wife, Susan of Ft. Myers, FL, Deborah and her husband, Steve of Andover, MA. Proud grandfather of Michelle and John O'Hara, Tim and Christie O'Hara, and Lauren and Joe Rusckowski.
Dave retired in 1992 after an incredible 50 year career as Sports Writer and Editor with the Associated Press. The Coconut Grove fire in 1942 jumpstarted his career. His career spanned coverage for news events like the famous Brinks Robbery in 1950, political campaigns, including traveling with JFK in Wisconsin in 1960, and sports. Although primarily based in Boston, one assignment required a move to Milwaukee for seven years where he loved covering the Braves and the Packers. Sports would ultimately be his primary focus with the AP, with a special love for Boston sports. Although he covered all sports including basketball, football, hockey, boxing, golf and tennis -- baseball was his true passion. He particularly loved covering Red Sox spring training in Winter Haven, Florida for 25+ years. Dave often reminisced of his days covering Aaron to Spahn to Williams to Yaz, including 2 perfect games and 12 no-hitters. Dave had a special relationship with the sports celebrities he wrote about, always respecting their privacy and earning their confidence. He was surprised and humbled to be the only sports writer invited to the tribute for Ted Williams at Fenway Park. The Dave O'Hara Award for excellence in journalism, begun in 1993 by the Boston Baseball Writer's Association, was a great honor bestowed on him by his peers. Dave was also a very proud veteran of the Korean War and a longtime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He also loved his many friends, and being a member of the Brighton Elks Lodge. Dave was a generous donor to the New England Sports Museum of the many memorabilia he collected throughout the years.
The sports world has lost a legend, and others have lost a good man and fun-loving friend.
A Memorial Mass will be held at 2pm in the Chapel at St. Joseph's, Avenue M, Winter Haven, FL, on Thursday, April 11, 2013. Friends are invited to the Parish Hall immediately following Mass. In lieu of flowers, please consider sending donations to Good Shepherd Hospice, Auburndale, FL.
Published in Ledger from Apr. 11 to Apr. 12, 2013