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Obituary for Dr. Michael Thomas O'Gara
Obituary for Dr. Michael O’Gara
Dr. Michael O’Gara, 70, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Saturday February 11, 2017. Michael was born on May 12, 1946 in a thatched roof home in Clon Carragh, County Mayo, Ireland. His family immigrated to the United States when he was 6 and he grew up in the Bronx and New Jersey. The oldest of three brothers, Dr. O’Gara graduated from Seton Hall University and attended the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. After completing his residency in Family Practice in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts he drove west on a camping and fishing trip with four friends and four dogs.
After driving across the country Michael settled in Gold Beach where he established his 4th Street Medical Clinic and served our Curry County community as family physician for 46 years. He worked until the day he died. Work. As an Osteopathic Physician Michael delivered a wide range of skilled medical services from delivering babies, providing internal and geriatric medicine and performing surgery. He was a skilled diagnostician. In addition to managing a large private practice Dr. O’Gara was instrumental in building the capacity and staffing Curry County Hospital and the county public health facilities. Together with Dr. Reg Williams and Dr. Taylor, Michael provided leadership in our health community for nearly 50 years. Michael played a key role as the physician in the hospital emergency room and many have strong memories of him saving the life of a family member or delivering their baby. He dedicated much of his life to taking care of others. He also served on many medical missions helping the poor in Haiti. Always giving. His mission in life was to make people feel better with his caring and loving manner. Working 12+ hour days his patients were always on his mind and he often visited his patients at home as well as in the hospital . He brought many into the world, made close friends with all he touched and helped many in death’s embrace.
He had a deep love for his world. Michael practiced well the art of acceptance in his walk through life. He had a calm and listening manner with a dimpled smile, a low voice and many, many kind words. Adventurous soul. Michael loved the outdoors… hiking, biking, kayaking, fishing, gardening, swimming, walks on the beach, picnics in the park and traveling the world, back to east coast to visit family or across the world to explore a new land. Always returning to his favorite place, Gold Beach, Oregon. Life was one adventure at a time. Michael also loved the indoors…. reading the newspaper, keeping up on world events, listening to music, sipping his multiple cups of coffee per day, bread and butter, fish and veggies, and of course, ending his day with a good movie. He always said he would love to be a movie critic.
Michael was an avid fisherman. He loved to go after salmon and steelhead on the Rogue and Elk Rivers. When he had a fish on, he would display a mix of joy and determination. If the fish failed to bite he would accept the outcome with good humor and grace. He loved to go out on the ocean to fish for halibut and rockfish, always ready for the adventure and he never got seasick. He also enjoyed float trips down the Rogue River and often would be the first person to tip over his kayak!
From his office he gazed out on the Ocean and felt at home in all the moods of sea, sand and sky. He was often seen on his favorite North Beach with his wife Shelly and their dogs. He loved hanging out with his stepson Frankie and enjoyed their time together in the outdoors and watching sports. Day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, second by second. Michael lived in the present, moment by moment, enjoying all that life had to offer. He will be forever missed and always in our hearts.
He is survived by his wife Shelly, stepson Frankie, stepdaughter, Julia, brother John O’Gara and his wife Rosemary of New Jersey, brother Christopher O’Gara and his wife Joan of Massachusetts, Cousin Lorraine Florio of Ashland, Oregon and her daughters Olivia and Angelica, who are Michael’s God daughters, and numerous cousins and friends.
A Memorial/Celebration of Life and potluck is planned for Sunday, March 5th, 2017 at 12:00 noon at the Docia Sweet Hall (fairgrounds) in Gold Beach, Oregon. All are welcome. Drinks and appetizers provided. Please bring a favorite meal, dessert or side dish to share.
Memorial contributions may be made to Curry County Animal Shelter, P.O. Box 1883, Gold Beach, OR 97415, or to Partners in Health, at donate.pih.org/give-today.
Redwood Memorial Chapel is assisting the family. Condolences may be expressed online at www.redwoodmemorial.net.