Dr. Richard Hugh O’Rourke, 90, passed away on March 20, 2020. Richard ( Dick) was born on June 6, 1929 in Altoona, PA to James Hugh O’Rourke and Bessie (Richards) O’Rourke. He was raised in Detroit, MI by his grandmother, Nellie Belle Palmer. He attended the University of Detroit where he played basketball on a scholarship. He received his M.S. in Education and his Ed.D. at Wayne State University in Detroit. Dick married his present wife Barbara (Wildzunas) in February 1990. He is predeceased by his first wife, Arlette (Moldovan) O’Rourke. He met Arlette at the age of 16 when he played basketball at the Metropolitan Methodist Church. Dick and Arlette married in 1951 and had three daughters: Kelley Ann and Paul (Auringer), Suellyn and John (Durkin) and Peggy Lynn and Ben (Gaegauf). He is also survived by his five grandchildren: Jeffrey Durkin, Kathryn Durkin, Tucker Gaegauf, Sam Gaegauf and Max Gaegauf.
An educator for 43 years, Richard started his career in the Detroit Public Schools. He served in every role: High School English teacher, guidance counselor, Assistant Principal, Principal and Assistant Regional Superintendent. He left the Detroit Public Schools in 1969 to become the superintendent of the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Schools in Burnt Hills, NY. He retired in June 1994 after serving 25 years. He was named one of the nation’s top 100 educators by “The Executive Educator” and “The American School Boards Journal” in 1990. Upon retirement the school district named the middle school the “Richard H. O’Rourke Middle School” in his honor.
Richard was a 50 year member of the Burnt Hills - Ballston Lake Rotary. In retirement he served on the boards of Community Human Services and The Charlton School.
Services will be announced at a future date after the present Covid-19 emergency has ended.
Memorial Contributions may be made to the Arlette O’Rourke Memorial Award, c/o Burnt Hills - Ballston Lake Central Schools, P.O. Box 1389, Ballston Lake, NY 12019
or BH- BL Education Foundation, P.O. Box 144, Burnt Hills, NY 12027.
Arrangements are by Townley & Wheeler Funeral Home, Ballston Lake, NY. View and leave messages on Dr. O’Rourke’s Book of Memories at www.TownleyWheelerFH.com