Mary Ellen O'Hara, 94

Social worker, parish volunteer

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Mary Ellen "Honey" (Ryan) O'Hara, age 94, of Hinsdale, formerly of River Forest and Oak Park, died on Jan. 28, 2019. 

She was born in Chicago on Aug. 15, 1924. Married to the late Richard "Dick" O'Hara for 62 years, they lovingly raised their large family of nine children.

A graduate of Trinity High School and Rosary College in River Forest, she and her three siblings spent their early years living on a ranch in the Sonoran desert of Mexico. At age 13, the family returned to Oak Park, joining St. Giles Parish.

Following graduation from Rosary, she worked as a social worker for Catholic Charities. After her children were grown, she worked as a teacher's aide at St. Vincent's Elementary School. As her children grew older, she was a favorite "Mom" with college dorm mates due to her famous oatmeal chocolate chip cookies sent in care packages. 

Honey also found time to volunteer for St. Giles and St. Luke parishes, including hosting many Sunday dinners for the parish priests. She also was a great advocate for the Dominican nuns, her children's teachers. As a devoted Catholic, she served as a Eucharistic minister, attending mass on a daily basis and included many in her prayers while praying the Rosary.

She had a lifelong love of books, and was always in a book club. An eclectic reader she had a particular interest in history, with a focus on Irish history. She enjoyed playing bridge and spending summers at the beach as a wonderful way to keep her children entertained while at the family cottage on Lake Michigan in Grand Beach, Michigan.

Nature was very special to Honey, and her way of finding peace from her busy days. Thunderstorms rolling through the tree tops at the cottage delighted her, and a visit to the Morton Arboretum for a few hours filled her soul.

Loving mother of Kate (Tim) Hemlock, Jan McNamara, Rick (Kathy), Terry (Sally), Madeleine Jordan, Bill, Mary Ellen (Dan) Duffy, Ray, and Sharon (Dave) Habiger; cherished grandmother of Elyse, Ian, Megan (Jeff), Sean (Alysha), Patrick (Audrey), Tim, Brendan (Britt), Colin, Leslie, Carey and Hannah; great-grandmother of Madeleine; dear sister of Patricia (the late Bob) Liska, Larry (Nancy) Ryan and the late Bill (Jane) Ryan. 

Family and friends will be received at the Conboy-Westchester Funeral Home, 10501 W. Cermak Rd., Westchester (2 blks West of Mannheim Rd.) for a memorial visitation on Friday, Feb. 8 from 3 to 8 p.m.

All to meet Saturday at St. Luke Church, 7600 Lake St., River Forest for 10 a.m. funeral Mass. Interment at Mt. Carmel Cemetery. 

In lieu of flowers, memorials to the Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters (, 585 County Road Z, Sinsinawa, Wisconsin, 53824.

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