John O’Rourke, 84

Published 8:29 am Tuesday, October 23, 2018

John O’Rourke, 84, former Austin mayor and “Hall of Fame” honoree by the “Minnesota Radio-TV Braodcasters, passed away on Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018.

John O’Rourke, 84

He is survived by his wife, Joan Grimley O’Rourke; his son, Stefan of Keystone, Colorado; his daughter, Erin Schoen (Brian Schoen) of Austin; and his grandchildren, Sarah Schoen and Nicole Schoen. His sister is Sheila Belting of Tucson, Arizona; and brothers are Gerald O’Rourke of Australia and the Rev. Bryan O’Rourke of Los Angeles, California.

He was the eldest of four children, born to Frank and Helen (McDonough) O’Rourke on March 23, 1934. John graduated from Cretin High School in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1952 and spent 1953 at St. Thomas College. In 1954, he enrolled at Brown Institute of Broadcasting in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to learn the business of radio/TV. While at Brown, he had a part-time job at WCCO-Radio in Minneapolis. After finishing training at Brown, Uncle Sam said John should join his Army, and he spent the next two years on the air in South Korea with “Radio Gypsy.” Out of the Army in 1956, he got radio jobs on stations in La Junta, Colorado, Ottumwa, Iowa, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota. In February 1961, he arrived in Austin and became the sports director of KAUS Radio and KAAL-TV. He enjoyed broadcasting Austin High and Pacelli sports events, news and sports programs. In 1972, Riverland Community College asked John to begin a radio and television broadcasting program to train broadcasting students; it was a program he enjoyed until his retirement in 1995. John served as Mayor of Austin from 1986 to 1996, which he also enjoyed.

Email newsletter signup

A memorial Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018, at St. Augustine Catholic Church with Father Bryan O’Rourke officiating. There will be a rosary at 3:45 p.m. and a prayer service at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018, at Clasen-Jordan Mortuary, where friends may call from 4-7 p.m. There will also be visitation one hour before the service on Wednesday at the church. Interment will be at Calvary Cemetery with American Legion Post 91 and Olaf B. Damm VFW Post 1216 in charge of military rites.