John Francis O’Rourke, 94, passed away Monday, December 24, 2018.
Born October 16, 1924 in Worcester, Massachusetts to John J. and Mary (Furey) Rourke, he was a teacher, principal, and headmaster for many years. He resided in Sutton, Massachusetts for over 50 years and loved to swim and sail in the lake, plant vegetables in his garden, and attend to his orchard of apple, cherry, pear, peach, and plum trees. He enjoyed his last 5 years in Gretna, Louisiana where he attended many events at the World War II museum, Timberlane Country Club, and parties at friends’ homes. He quickly became a Saint’s fan but retaining his Patriot’s loyalty at the same time.
John loved baseball and was a catcher for the former Worcester State Teachers College. Whenever he could her would cheer on the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Winning the world series this year when his health was deteriorating kept a smile on his face.
During WW II, John served in the 42nd (Rainbow) Division, 222 Infantry Regiment, pushing through France and Germany and ultimately was part of the occupational forces in Austria. During the drive through Germany, the 42nd Rainbow Division liberated a major subcamp of the Dachau Concentration Camp. Also, during a major offensive, John traversed through the German front lines to deliver a message of the impending attach to US Troops in harm’s way. For his actions the Bronze Star was awarded. He also was a recipient of the Purple Heart Medal.
After the war, John enlisted in the Naval Reserve and served until his retirement as a Lt. Commander.
Surviving are daughters: Sharon Giffard and Maureen Kirchner (Larry) and sons: John F. O’Rourke Jr (Joan) and Paul O’Rourke (Judy). Grandchildren Include: Ktanah O’Rourke, Stephan Frick, Kimberly Janeczek, Ryan Frick, Ian Butler, Alexandra Paganetti, Nick Paganetti, Kevin Kirchner, Erin O’Neil, Kerry Christmas, John O’Rourke, Kevin O’Rourke, Michael O’Rourke, Saralyn Boyle, Paul O’Rourke. He also has multiple great grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife Pauline Coogan Rourke and daughter Colleen O’Rourke Butler. He was also preceded in death by his longtime companion of over forty years Jacqueline Durbin.
John graduated from the former Worcester State Teachers College (now Worcester State University) and earned a masters degree in education.
Visitation and a Funeral Mass were held at Mothe Funeral Home, Harvey, LA on Saturday, December 29th,2018.
A graveside service will be at the New Howard Cemetery, Sutton, Massachusetts, on Wednesday, January 9, at 11AM.