Laurence L. “Larry” O’Hara of Salina, Kan. passed away peacefully on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2009 at the home of his daughter, surrounded by his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Larry was born on Sept. 10, 1932 to John J. and Loretta O’Hara in Baltimore, Md. He was the youngest of 10 children. His mother died in childbirth with him. He was raised in St. Patrick’s Orphanage with his younger brothers.
As a young teen he was raised by his sister, Virginia, and his brother, Frank. At the age of 15 he had an older brother “verify” that he was of age, and he joined the Army. By age 18 he was a Staff Sergeant with the Hourglass 7th Infantry Division, in charge of a platoon of tanks fighting in the Korean War. During his 25-year career in the military he served two tours in Vietnam and retired at the rank of Major. He was heavily decorated for acts of bravery and service.
After retiring from the Army, he continued his life-long pursuit of education completing two masters and a doctorate degree in psychology. He was in private practice in Huntsville, Alabama. He taught college level courses at the American Institute of Psychotherapy. He topped off his education by becoming a certified photographer through Nashville State Technical Community College. His passion was wildlife photography. He later taught wilderness photography courses at NSTCC. He was a volunteer park ranger at Arches National Park for over five years.
His most joyful accomplishment was being a father of six, grandfather of 23, and great-grandfather of 21, with two more on the way.
Larry was united in marriage to Dorothy Tornensky on the July 17, 1953, in Baltimore. She is the mother of his children. They later divorced. His second wife, Patty Weis, died in 1980. Besides his parents and siblings, preceding him in death, are a grandson, Scott A. Whitehead, and son-in-law, Glenn L. M. Pickeral.
His brothers and sisters are: Virginia O’Hara Kirby; John O’Hara Jr.; Donald O’Hara Sr; Delma O’Hara Tubbs; Mary Eileen O’Hara Manning; Joseph O’Hara Sr.; Francis X. “Frank” O’Hara Sr.; Jerry O’Hara; and Leo Edmund O’Hara, all of whom he survived.
He is survived by his children and their spouses, Valerie and Lonnie Wilson of Salina, Kan.; Lauren and Henry Forson of Lebanon, Tenn.; Donna and Michael Buchenau of Gypsum, Kan.; Leslie and Michael Rodriguez of Auburn, Wash.; Sonny and Allyson O’Hara of Bullhead City, Ariz.; and Janine Helton of Franklin, Tenn.
He is also survived by his grandchildren, Bevin Welsch, Michael Wilson, Brett Wilson, Mark Wilson, Kyle Pickeral, Kelly Roberts, Klane Pickeral, Kaelyn Couts, Kristy Cook, Ryan O’Hara, Jonathan Whitehead, Eric Whitehead, Laura Rodriguez, Caroline Stubbs, Stefan Rodriguez, Paige Rodriguez, Olivia Rodriguez, Christy O’Hara, Rachel O’Hara, Kelsi O’Hara, Taylor Helton, Murray Helton, and Brennan Helton; and his great-grandchildren, Mason, Ethan, Lilly, and Collin Welsch; Alec and Nick Wilson; Brittlee, Brigg, and Reese Pickeral; Renee’, Elijah and Seth Baca; Rachael Couts; Tanner and Jane Cook; Phillip, Kenisen, and Elizabeth O’Hara; K’Lee Whitehead; Madeline Whitehead; and Kelly Stubbs.
Larry leaves behind many dear friends in the Nashville and Huntsville area as well as those at his beloved Arches and Yellowstone National parks, and his “adopted” brother and sister, Bill and Liz McCutcheon and their families of Madison, Ala. He is also survived by sisters-in-law, Agnes O’Hara of Baltimore and Janet O’Hara of Greensboro, N.C. and many, many nieces and nephews.
Graveside services with military honors were Monday, Nov. 23 at Roselawn Cemetery, Salina, Kan. Memorials may be made to The Audubon Society or Hospice of Salina, P.O. Box 2238, Salina, KS 67402-2238.