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John E. O'Hara

john o'hara
On Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, John E. O'Hara passed away unexpectedly at age 64. Known for his easy smile, infectious sense of humor and compassionate spirit, he lived his life completely and with genuine joy.

John was born on May 13, 1954 in Washington, D.C., to John Bernard and Irene O'Hara. He married Pat Zinn on Nov. 12, 1977, and raised two beautiful daughters, Kelly and Caitlin, who were a source of much love and devotion. He was and will be, their biggest cheerleader...always and forever.

His surviving siblings who brought him much happiness, are Maureen O'Hara Leischner, Beth O'Hara, and Brian O'Hara, Kathleen O'Hara who he patiently loved, died March 17, 2012.
John is also survived by nephews and nieces who he got to spend many holidays with, and loved family time together. He enjoyed being an uncle to an amazing family.

Throughout his varied career, John strived to be the best he could be, working first as a bartender at 20 (yes, in Va & there is a story behind that) and spending time as a letter carrier in Chicago and Falls Church. He also took great pride in becoming a driver for FedEx. John earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at George Mason University in 1990 and could not have been prouder of his hard earned accomplishment, in the midst of working and being a part-time single-dad.

in 2007, he decided to pursue becoming a physical education teacher and earned certification to be a behind-the wheel driving instructor at South County High School. Many students benefited from his patience and kindness. He was particularly moved by special interactions with his behind-the-wheel families, from parents who sought him out to teach their younger children after having their eldest child in his class, to proud mother's who insisted on taking a successful test day picture of their student with him.

Devoted to staying fit, John hit the gym six days a week and ran Burke Lake on Sundays. He passionately loved music, including jazz, rock and roll and particularly the performances of Bruce Springsteen. He was a voracious reader and a loyal DC fan supporting the Washington Redskins, Nationals, and Capitals

John loved the Lord. Church was an important part of his life. One of his passions was attending a St. Ignatius bible study at Nativity Catholic Church. He attended mass each Sunday and helped feed the homeless at Christ House in Alexandria. He truly demonstrated his faith in the way he live his life.

As your wife of 42 years and knowing you for 44 years, there will not be a day that goes by, that I won't miss you.
Thanks for the memories.
God and you have reminded me, you will always be with me in my heart.
I love you.

A mass in Celebration of John O'Hara's Life will be held March 20, 2019 from 11:00-12:00 pm at Nativity Catholic Church. 6400 Nativity Lane. Burke, Va
A Reception is to follow in the Nativity Hall from 12:00-3:00 pm

In lieu of flowers the family has asked donations to be made to one of the following charities:

Washington Region Transplant Community (WRTC)


MADD (Mothers against Drunk Driving) Va chapter


Nativity Catholic Church
6400 Nativity Lane
Burke, VA 22015

March 20, 2019
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Family Gathering

Nativity Catholic Church
6400 Nativity Lane
Burke, VA 22015

March 20, 2019
12:00 PM - 3:00 PM

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Memories Timeline


  1. Pat, John’s wife is a friend of mine and she often spoke about her family and particularly of her husband John. She always shared stories about the fun times they shared with their daughters. I was finally able to meet him recently. He and Pat offered me rides to my car after long flights from Asia. I was the recipient of one more act of kindness that he showed to all that knew him. I know Pat, Caitlyn and Kelly have love and support from family during this difficult time. God Bless!

  2. John was a great guy. I taught with him, and he would sub for me when I needed someone. I was able to do ride alongs with him when I was pursuing my driver’s ed certification. One year, his daughter was unable to run he Army Ten Miler, and I did not have a bib. He offered her daughter’s bib to me so I could run the race that year. Such a personable person to talk to and get to know. Thankful for the heart and impact he had on the students at SoCo.

  3. John was such a gentlemen. We enjoyed his time with us at South County Middle School when he shared his talents with our PE department. My condolences to his family and friends.

  4. John was a compassionate man and I am a better person from having knowing him. He was always ready with a kind word and helping hand. He will live in my memories. My deepest sympathy to you Pat and to the rest of the of the family.

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