Phil O'Hara, 87

John Philip O’Hara, known as Phil, 87, died on Sunday, Oct. 18, in Brooklyn, Connecticut, with his children at his side. Born on May 17, 1933, in Worcester, Massachusetts, he earned his Bachelor of Arts at Brown University in 1957 after spending two years serving in the U.S. Army in Korea.

He retired at the age of 77 as director of student activities at Brown University, where he was a founder of the Brown University Mediation Project.

Beginning his professional career with the Follett Publishing Company in Chicago, he rose to the position of president of the publishing division, before branching off on his own to create JP O’Hara Inc., a niche publishing company, which published Chicago on Foot, as well as other titles.

He devoted his life to serving other people, including affiliations with Chicago Youth Centers, the District 97 Board of Education, and Boy Scouts Troop 16. He enjoyed  supporting new businesses and organizations from the ground up, from the founding of Wednesday Journal to the mediation work he cherished. He loved to travel, especially with his children, to Alaska, the Boundary Waters, Illinois, Idaho, and California.

Phil O’Hara was preceded in death by his parents, Katherine Broderick O’Hara and Russell J. O’Hara; his brother, Frank O’Hara; and his daughter, Alison O’Hara Barasa. Survivors include Patricia, his wife of 25 years; his sister, Maureen; his children, Keith (Dena), Julie, and John (Amy); his two stepsons, Michael and Will Weatherly; and his 17 grandchildren and four great-granddaughters.

Services were held on Oct. 22, 2020, in Grafton, Massachusetts. 

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the New Hampton School, 70 Main St., New Hampton, NH 03256. 

Join the discussion on social media!