William J. O’Rourke, M.D., 85

Published 10:50 am Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Holy, humble, generous and kind. A compassionate physician and loving father, grandfather, husband, brother and friend. Bill O’Rourke was all these things, and much more.



After suffering the last few years from Alzheimer’s, Dad died at age 85, unexpectedly but peacefully at Madonna Towers in Rochester on March 29, 2015. His loving wife of 59 years, Mary Ann, was at his side.

Bill was born Jan. 31, 1930, in St. Paul to Margaret (Schiller) and Willis O’Rourke. He attended St. Andrew grade school, and St. Thomas Academy and College. During medical school at Creighton University, he met Mary Ann (Dendinger). They were married in Omaha at St. Cecilia’s Cathedral. He did an internship at St. Mary’s Hospital in Duluth, then served two years at Otis Air Force base hospital in Massachusetts, did his family practice residency at Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, and then settled in Austin, Minnesota. He practiced Family Medicine at the Austin Clinic from 1961 until 1978, then joined the Mayo Clinic as a medical otorhinolaryngologist for the next 18 years, where he healed many and made friends with many more. He retired in 1996. Bill was a member of the Doctors Mayo Society, Zumbrota Medical Society and a life-time member of the American Academy of Family Practice.

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Bill was an ardent, prayerful Catholic who served his parish community with total faith and generosity; he raised his children to live their faith in service to others. He and Mary Ann were Eucharistic ministers and belonged to the Rochester Serra Club, which fosters vocations to the priesthood and religious life. He was a former member of ElderNetwork and the St. Pius X parish nurse program.

Bill was preceded in death by parents Willis and Margaret; brothers: Robert and Jerry; sister Marguerite; and infant son William.

In addition to his wife Mary Ann, other survivors include daughter Theresa (David) McGuire, Rochester; Joe (Mary) O’Rourke, Kansas; Michael O’Rourke, St. Paul; Gina (Pat) Peschel, Edina; foster daughter Jane Schnirring Rodriguez (Joe), St. Paul. He was a wonderful grandpa to Patrick, Mara and Helen McGuire, Olivia and Elise Rodriguez, Maddy and Ian O’Rourke, and Jack, Emma and William Peschel.

The family would like to extend special thanks to those who helped us care for Bill these past few years, especially those at Caring Partners and the Madonna Towers Living Community.

We invite you to join us in remembrance and celebration of Bill’s life on April 1, 2015, starting with recitation of the Rosary at 9:30 a.m. at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Rochester, followed by visitation at 10 a.m. and a Mass of Christian burial at 11 a.m. The Mass will be concelebrated by Father Paul Nelson and brother-in-law Bishop Willam Dendinger from Grand Island, Nebraska. Lunch will follow Mass; burial afterward at Calvary Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please send memorials to St. Pius X Church or Madonna Towers Living Community of Rochester. Macken Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements. Online condolences are welcome at www.mackenfuneralhome.com