Dr. James O'Hern (1928 - 2019)

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Dr. James "Jim" O'Hern, age 90,
died at the Colorado Veterans Home
in Rifle, Colorado on Sunday afternoon,
May 5, 2019. He was interred on
August 13 at the Ft. Logan National
Cemetery in Denver, Colorado.
Jim was born in Moline, Illinois on
July 24, 1928. He served in the US
Navy as a hospital corpsman in Great
Lakes, Illinois. After his discharge
in 1948 he married Ruth Watkins, a
former Lieutenant in the Navy Medical
Corps. They had five children:
Mary James (Cole), Kevin J. O'Hern
(Lisa), Kelly J. O'Hern, Erin Kulhavey-
Leonard, Ann M. Berhenke; several
grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by a
daughter, Erin.

Jim graduated from St. Ambrose
College in Davenport, Iowa with a
bachelor's degree in education. In
1959, he received his master's degree
in education from Western Illinois
University. In 1982 he received his
PHD from Clayton University. During
his 48 years in education he was a
classroom teacher, a school principal,
consultant and active volunteer.
In 1968 James married widowed
JoAnn McKee and the couple resided
in Galesburg, Illinois for several years.
JoAnn was an elementary school
teacher and together they enjoyed
fishing, traveling and exploring
archeological sites. JoAnn had three
children from a previous marriage:
Pamela J. McKee Reed (Steve), Robert
M. McKee (Debbie) and Martha M.
McKee Hayden (Joe).

The couple later moved to Littleton,
Colorado where Jim continued his
service in education through volunteering
with the Senior Volunteer Program
in Douglas County, Colorado.
His teaching presentations, designed
for elementary students, including
Geography, 3rd-Grade Archeology,
Poetry and Douglas County History.
Jim treasured the letters he received
from former students, some of them
now teachers themselves.
Jim's special interests included
teaching, writing and sharing his
knowledge with others. He was an
avid writer and in 2005 published
"Just A Teacher". He also enjoyed
needlepoint on window screen. He
made and gave away many hundreds
of yarn pictures of schools, homes and
cartoon characters for children.
In the final years of his life, Jim was
known as "Doc" at the Colorado Veterans
Home in Rifle, Colorado. Family
and friends are grateful to all the staff
there for their attentiveness and loving
care. Jim believed one person CAN
make a difference and, in his words,
"…he was proud and happy to be Just
a Teacher."
Published in Colorado Community Newspapers from Aug. 29 to Sept. 5, 2019
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