James O'Hara

Jim O'Hara, born James Courtney O'Hara, died peacefully on the morning of New Year's Day. Jim was born in Chicago, Illinois to James F. and Beverly J.(nee Courtney) O'Hara and was preceded in death by his parents and younger brother, J. Thomas O'Hara. He is survived by his sister, Kathleen, and his brothers, W. Patrick (Terri), Kevin M. (Catherine Allaway) and E. Kieran O'Hara (Evelyn); his beloved daughter, Coren Elizabeth; his grandchild, Skylar Scott, and many loving nieces and a nephew.

Jim grew up in Evergreen Park, Illinois, where his artistic talents were recognized early, having received the prestigious Prix de Rome for his sculpture and tireless work ethic. A graduate of the Chicago Art Institute, his early career consisted of working as the lead preparer for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Jim's first work involved the 1970 production and installation of artist Wolf Vostelle's unique, "Concrete Traffic." Jim was a consummate and well-respected artist whose works took many forms throughout his life. He inspired individuals to look at the world from a variety of perspectives and to go well beyond the manifest image for a deeper understanding of things.

Originally hired in 1975 as a Professor of Art, Jim taught sculpture, art history and 3-D Design for Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff for approximately 40 years. Jim and students in his architectural sculpture class designed and installed "The Benchmark" sculpture in 1984. It is affectionately known by students as the "french fries" piece. His art often incorporated elements of space, time and various interpretations of light. Jim will be deeply missed by his family, friends and compassionate neighbors.

A celebration of Jim's life will be arranged later this spring. Donations to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research is appreciated.


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Published by Arizona Daily Sun on Jan. 10, 2021.
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4 Entries
Jim was a creative friend of mine for many years - our conversations were always deep, inspiring and encouraging... He is loved and will be missed... my heart goes out to his family and friends.
Nancy Helin
January 21, 2021
You were passionate about art and teaching. You loved to run and swim. You were an inspiration. Rest in peace, friend.
Edward Hood
January 11, 2021
Jim was a fine colleague and a talented artist. He will be missed and remembered.
Richard Tony Parker
January 10, 2021
You will be missed.
Susan L Walkup
January 10, 2021