Major James H. O'Rourke
1936 - 2021
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After a life of military and community service, Army Maj. James H. O'Rourke (Retired) of Bedford, passed away on February 20, 2021 at Catholic Medical Center in Manchester after a brief illness.

Jim was born in Brooklyn, NY to Francis O'Rourke and Bertha (Solowie) O'Rourke on September 6, 1936. After graduating from Cathedral High School in Indianapolis, Indiana, Jim attended Officer Candidate School (OCS). He obtained his Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from Canisius College in Buffalo, NY and a Master's Degree from Hofstra University in Uniondale, NY, graduating with honors.

Jim served with the 82nd Airborne Division and as a U.S. Army Ranger with the elite 101st Airborne Division. He served two tours of duty in both Korea and Vietnam and a tour of duty in Saudia Arabia, while learning to speak Mnong and Arabic fluently. Jim also taught Military History at LaSalle Military High School in Brooklyn, NY. As a Protocol Officer at Ft. Hamilton in Brooklyn NY, he had the distinguished honor of escorting General Omar Bradley on his last trip to New York City. After retiring from the Army in 1978, Jim continued to work as a civilian for the Army's Intelligence Department, as a test psychologist at Ft. Devens, MA. During Jim's long military career, he was awarded many medals and commendations, including a Meritorious Service Medal, two Purple Heart Medals, two Bronze Star Medals, Presidential Unit Citation, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry Medal, Armed Forces Honor Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Air Medal and Good Conduct Medal.

While stationed at Ft. Dix (NJ), Jim met and married the love of his life, DeeDee Coombs, a nurse from Trenton. They celebrated 50 years of marriage, before DeeDee passed away in 2011. Jim is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Patrick and Lydia O'Rourke of Bedford; daughters, Tracy O'Rourke of West Palm Beach, FL and Colleen O'Rourke of Nashua and granddaughter, Mairead O'Rourke of Orlando, FL. Jim will also be missed by his many nieces, nephews and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers, Robert and Ronald O'Rourke, and sister, Sheila O'Rourke Collins.

Jim was a devout Catholic and lived his life to help and serve others. For many years, he helped run a food pantry for his Catholic church. At the age of 85, he was always on the go and especially looked forward to his daily visits to The Red Barn on Elm Street, enjoying the company of his friends ("second family").

SERVICES: A private cemetery committal service was held at St. Joseph Cemetery in Bedford and his large, extended family will celebrate his life at a gathering this upcoming summer.

Lambert Funeral Home & Crematory, Manchester is assisting the family with arrangements. To leave a message of condolence, see the obituary at

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Union Leader on Mar. 5, 2021.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
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6 entries
March 12, 2021
Mr. Oroarke was a great neighbor and great friend for many years. My only regret is that I never got a chance to really thank him for all he did for our country. He was a great father, husband and I'm certain an excellent grandfather. He will be missed and look forward to any future celebrations of his life.
Andy Lavigne
Andrew Lavigne
March 11, 2021
So very sorry to know of James O'Rourke's passing. Knew the family, especially his wife Dede, a very good friend of mine. Blessing to his children, Tracy, Colleen and Patrick.
Dawna Worcester {Stanek}
March 11, 2021
I had the privilege of knowing Jim for 20+ years. We moved to Bedford in 1999, across the street and he was the first one to come over and welcome us to the neighborhood. Over the years I developed a strong bond with Jim and was proud to call him friend. He always took time, regardless of what he was doing, to help those around him. I was often the beneficiary of his kindness.

I was always amazed at his energy level and how he was always on the go. He was a no-nonsense kind of person and told it like it was. I wish we had more like him...

I feel a deep sense of loss and an even deeper sadness that I didn't get to see him prior to his passing. He was one of a kind and his absence will be felt for a long long time. I take solace in knowing he is at peace with his wife after having lived a full and purposeful life. God bless you Jim!
Paul Mondello
March 7, 2021

To the O'Rourke Family:

On behalf of a grateful nation, and the Department of NH, VFW/Auxiliary District #7, we wish to acknowledge your loved one's service to our country, and send our deepest condolences on your loss.

District #7 Chaplain,
Cathy Burns
March 5, 2021
Dear O'Rourke Family,
We were so sad to hear of Jim's passing. He was truly a great human being, full of witty humor and would always make us laugh when my parents came to visit from Indiana. We were blessed to have met him. Please accept our whole family's deepest condolences.
Patrick Lee
March 5, 2021
Mr.O ‘Rourke, Thank you for your service RDM Windham NH
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