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Obituary of Donald O'Hearn
Donald Thomas O’Hearn, 83, of Albion, NY, passed away on January 29, 2019 at the Martin-Linsin Hospice Residence in Albion. He maintained his bright spirit and wry wit through several illnesses, leaving a legacy of joy and perseverance to sustain his family. He was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, and friend.
Don was born in Albion, NY on March 2, 1935, to Richard and Margaret (Willett) O’Hearn. He spent most of his life in Albion, attending St. Joe’s Catholic school and becoming an Eagle Scout. Determined to see the world and serve his country, he joined the Navy at the end of the Korean War, two weeks after his 1953 Albion High School graduation.
The Navy and his time flying on a P2V Neptune as a radio controller were formative for him; he loved to reminisce about being stationed at air bases in the Arctic Circle, and the Caribbean. Planes were his passion; he obtained a private pilot’s license at age 46 and eagerly attended the Fly-In Breakfasts at Pine Hill Airport. He loved playing golf and was a true sports fan, favoring the Detroit Lions and Tigers, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, St Bonaventure Bonnies, and the Albion Purple Eagles. Don was a 61 year member of the Albion Fire Department, and held long term memberships in the Elks Club, VFW, St Mary’s Club and American Legion.
When he returned to Orleans County from the Navy, he married the love of his life, Ruth (Engle) in 1959, to whom he was devoted until her death in 1998. Don and Ruth laid the groundwork for a family that valued the things that they did: taking joy in each day, serving their community, and investing in their relationships with friends and family.
After his retirement from Starkweather Freight Lines and suffering a stroke in 1998, Don remained a beloved fixture in Albion: he could often be seen driving around town to pick up his grandchildren from school, or later, motoring the streets in his power chair. He could also be found enjoying coffee, grilled cheese, or his favorite seafood bisque at The Village House, and his grandchildren knew that lunch paid for by Papa was just a phone call away.
Don was cherished by his family, and while they mourn his loss, they celebrate a long life well-lived and eagerly anticipate seeing him again in Glory.
He is predeceased in death by parents Richard and Margaret (Willett) O’Hearn; wife Ruth (Engle) O’Hearn; and many cherished brothers- and sisters-in-law, relatives, and friends.
Mr. O’Hearn is survived by his three children; Thomas (Theresa) O’Hearn, Lynn (Phil) Burgess, and Marc (Wendy) O’Hearn, all of Albion; grandchildren Heather (Jared) Hapeman, Patrick O’Hearn, Amber (Wesley) Bedford, Zachary Burgess, Megan (Andrew) O’Hearn-Davidson, Timothy O’Hearn, Alison (Peter) Nesbitt, and Kellie O’Hearn; great-grandchildren Luke & Olivia Bedford, Ashley and Coraline Hapeman; as well as numerous loving brothers- and sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, and friends.
The family will receive friends at the Christopher Mitchell Funeral Homes, Inc. 21 W. Avenue, Albion, on Friday February 1, from 4:00-8:00pm. Don’s Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Holy Family Parish/St. Joseph’s Church on Saturday February 2, at 11:00am. Interment with Military Honors will follow at Mt. Albion Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Hospice of Orleans, P.O. Box 489, Albion, NY 14411 or Richard Knight/Sue Kaderli Memorial Fund, Inc. P.O. Box 684, Medina, NY 14103