December 12th, 1983 – December 31st, 2020
On Thursday, December 31st, our family suffered a tragic loss with the passing of Barry O’Rourke. Barry was Sinead’s loving husband and devoted father to both Ronan and Ada. Those who have spent time at our studios will know Barry well as he would often visit, shooting hoops in the yard, popping his head in the kitchen for a chat or bite to eat, often engaging in conversation with our guests. He had the type of personality that filled a room, always asking questions, genuinely interested in people’s stories, and full of empathy. He was easy on the eyes, too; it wasn’t uncommon to witness a group of students stealing a glance of him walking across the yard, curious about who this dashing figure could be. Barry was an absolute gem; a true gentleman, who loved with all his heart, always putting others before himself and we were so grateful to call him family.
Barry cared for men with special needs in his professional life, a vocation that perfectly suited him. We know he will be missed dearly by those men who relied on his caring nature. Barry’s sudden passing has left a hole in our hearts, most profoundly in our sister Sinead’s, his beautiful children Ronan and Ada, his proud parents Leo and Sandra, and his sisters Lorraine and Sinead. Although Barry will no longer be part of our daily lives, his shining example will live on in all of us. We’re grateful for the outpouring of love and support we have received. We recognize the grief and frustration that many of us must suffer this loss in isolation but will strive to face the future with the hope and joy that we know Barry would have wanted for all of us.
The celebrant at Barry’s funeral service eloquently spoke of life’s continuum. She articulated this simple truth noting where one tree dies; another grows in its place, the energy never disappears. In the days immediately following Barry’s passing, we could see this so clearly in our children. Unable to comprehend the fullness of this loss, they carried on with their play, collecting shards of ice, getting stuck in the mud, begging us to push them again and again on the swing. We can honor Barry’s memory by living his example of caring for each other, being selfless, curious, and kind. These simple and most meaningful acts will affirm Barry’s life.