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John O'Hara

1957 - 2018 Obituary Condolences Gallery
John O'Hara Obituary
It's hard to pick out just one word to describe someone . . . but in the case of John O'Hara it's fairly easy. Solid. Not just in stature but in the things that really matter . . . character, faith, integrity, humility, kindness, family. John's commitment to those he loved was rock solid and never in doubt. He was the kind of guy who helped his family, his church and his community be better just by doing his best every day. John and his family were always on everybody's short list of people to call when help was needed and when they weren't called they showed up anyway with a gentle smile and firm grip. Nothing was ever a problem with John . . . just situations he'd handle. Dependable is another good word for him. His best day without a doubt came on October 14, 1979 when he married his high school sweetheart, Barbara F. Leonard, in Saint Joseph's Church on Main Street. Thirty-nine years later Barbara was still holding his hand in a loving embrace when John took his last breath at their Waltham home. They made a great pair. Life for John began on a hot day in July, 1957 when he entered the world at Saint Elizabeth's Hospital in Brighton. He was the third child born to Curtis P. and Gretchen (Winkel) O'Hara in a family that would eventually include seven children in a busy house on Church Street. He was a lifelong resident and a 1975 graduate of Waltham High School and four years later earned his degree in business management at Bentley College in Waltham. His first job was at International Harvester Credit Corporation which lasted until April, 1985 when O'Hara's Pub on Walnut Street in Newton Highlands opened its doors. His father, Curt, and younger brother, Karl, were his business partners, friends, confidantes and trusted daily companions. Their love for one another was apparent. Seventeen years after O'Hara's opened the trio took the successful venture to West Newton where they opened Paddy's Pub on Elm Street. The O'Hara operations became well-known for many reasons . . . not just for great food, comfortable surroundings, warm ambiance and friendly staff but for being involved in helping the wider community share in their success. Long involved in several charitable endeavors in Newton and in Waltham they did their giving quietly and efficiently. Best known for sponsoring 'Paddy's Road Race' every October, John and his family also dug deep to help organizations like the Waltham Boys and Girls Club, the Jimmy Fund, and area churches help people to get a leg up on life. Upon learning of John's death Newton Athletes Unlimited released a statement that read in part: "Under his leadership, Paddy's Road Race grew from 250 participants and raising around $3,000 to 2,500 participants raising over $50,000 each year." When he wasn't working a million hours a week John enjoyed spending summer days off at the family cottage at Goose Rocks Beach in Kennebunkport, Maine. It was a place where he found peace and tranquility in an otherwise busy life. Throughout his illness it has to be said that beyond the love, affection and devotion of his wife and children that sustained him and gave him strength, the real power that gave him the fight to go on was his unwavering faith. John's devotion to the Blessed Mother and the Rosary were his constant companions and were what allowed him to smile even when it hurt. John Michael O'Hara died at home on Friday, December 28, 2018 knowing that he was loved and wanted and needed by the family that had gathered around him. He was 61. In addition to his wife, Barbara, he leaves his children, John M. O'Hara, Jr., Ryan W. O'Hara (Kathleen Murphy), Patrick H. O'Hara, all of Newton and Amy M. O'Hara of Waltham; his granddaughter, Madison O'Hara; his brothers and sisters, Timothy L. O'Hara of Waltham, Maria 'Molly' Straqualursi (Anthony) of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, Curtis P. 'Biff' O'Hara, Jr. (Nicole) of Kingston, New Hampshire, Gretchen E. 'Beth' Palmer, Kate Downey (J) and Karl J. O'Hara (Barbara), all of Waltham; his uncle, Leo Winkel (Mary Jane 'Midge') of Mt. Laurel, New Jersey; his brother-in-law, William Leonard (Julie) of Waltham and many nieces, nephews, cousins and their families. A Funeral Mass was celebrated on Friday, January 4th, in Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted Church, 880 Trapelo Road, Waltham. Burial followed in Mount Feake Cemetery, Waltham. Memorial donations may be made to Saint Mary's After-School-Program, 133 School Street, Waltham, MA 02451.
Published in Waltham News Tribune from Jan. 10 to Jan. 17, 2019
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