Cover photo for James O'Rourke's Obituary

James O'Rourke

June 7, 1936 — March 11, 2022

James O'Rourke

Mr. James “Jim” Edward O'Rourke, age 85 of S. Forest Avenue in Hartwell passed away on Friday, March 11, 2022 at Prisma Greenville Memorial Hospital.

He was born on June 7, 1936 in Queens, New York to the late John O'Rourke and Beulah Magness O'Rourke. Jim was the second oldest of 8 boys. He also had 1 sister, 10 years their senior. The family lived in Long Island, NY, and ran a deli. Beulah, however, grew up on a farm in Winder, GA. There she had worked long hours, together with her 12 siblings, picking cotton and maintaining the land. Jim traveled by train every summer to Winder, along with his older brother Jack, to help on the family farm and to learn that life. He cherished those memories (and the hard won calluses brought home).

Like his father before him who served his country in WW1, Jim was a veteran of the U.S. Army. Awarded with Good Conduct medal for his time in Germany during the Korean War, Jim was an outstanding “pole-climber,” excelled at wiring and signal communications. Recognized for his prior boxing achievements (Golden Gloves prize in NY), he was charged with establishing a gym for his battalion.

Strong in numerous sports, Jim also played baseball for Piedmont College in GA before enlisting.

After serving, he pursued an interest in acting, which led Jim to Hollywood in the late 50s. His career took a turn there into hairdressing for the stars, under tutelage of Jay Sebring. When Mr Sebring was tragically killed by Charles Manson in 1969, Jim carried on with his own salon, O’Rourke on Wilshire Boulevard. While very successful, Jim was determined to pursue a career in law, and so did for many years before retiring in the late 90s.

Married originally to Sheila Flynn in 1969, Jim fathered three daughters: Shevon, Erin and Meghan. While the couple later divorced, in 1978, his daughters continued to be the joys of his life and center of his attention. That is until he met and joined his life with best friend and beloved wife, Margaret “Pat” O’Rourke, and then the circle graciously widened. With his new marriage Jim gained two additional daughters, Pat’s children: Kim and Tara. Together, he and Pat shared a love that is rare.
Tragically separated in 2020 due to various medical complications, Pat passed away on the eve of their 34th wedding anniversary.

Jim is survived by: his daughters, Shevon Dieterich of Hartwell, Meghan Kaiser of Rhode Island, Kim Carnow and Tara Gadsby; siblings, Jack, Tommy, Frank, and Mickey; grandchildren, Devin, Caleb, Grace, Ashley, Bodie, Lucy, Nicole, Kelly and Brian; and an abundant host of cousins, nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, wife, Margaret Patricia "Pat" Kieran O'Rourke, daughter, Erin O'Rourke Gilbert, and siblings, Petey, Billy, Joe, and Anne.

At his request Jim O'Rourke was cremated. Burial will be in the Nazareth UMC Cemetery in Winder, GA. The family will host an ecumenical service on April 20, 2022, led by Pastor Susan Burg of Nazareth UMC and Father Gilbert Exume of St Matthew. All are welcome.

Nazareth United Methodist Church and Cemetery. 622 Kennedy Rd. Winder, GA 30680

12pm - Celebration of Life in the Nazareth UMC Sanctuary (Pastor Susan Burg)

1pm - Rite of Committal at graveside (Father Gilbert Exume)

Gathering and refreshments in Church Hall immediately following

Arrangements are under the care of Coile and Hall Funeral Directors/Lake Hartwell Cremation Center, 333 E. Johnson Street in Hartwell.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James O'Rourke, please visit our flower store.


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