Patricia Anne O’Rourke, 90, died May 27 at Bridges by EPOCH in Mashpee.
She was born in Boston, the daughter of Denis and Elizabeth (Donovan) O’Connell and the sixth of their nine children. She was graduated from Franklin High School in 1948, then continued her education at business school, concentrating on secretarial studies.
After completing her coursework she started her career in Washington, DC, at the Pentagon, where she worked in the office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. She left government employ to move closer to home, working for Sears Roebuck and Hot Shoppes, a division of Marriott, balancing their books and managing their offices.
In 1953, she was out with a group of friends when she met Robert O’Rourke, a young plumber from Newton. When he asked her for her phone number she told him to look up Denis O’Connell in the phone book. He did. They were married in November of that same year. They shared a life together for 66 years until his death in April 2020.
In 1956, the O’Rourkes moved their young family to Cape Cod and settled in the Town of Barnstable. Her husband opened his own business, and she devoted herself to her family and home. The couple had seven children.
Ms. O’Rourke was a master craftsperson whose mediums ranged from wood to textiles. Beginning with her own home, she started to obtain what she wanted as furnishings in a more economical and expressive way—she made it: cherry dining tables, valances, sideboards, cabinets. She took night classes at Barnstable High School so she could get her hands on the saws and routers she wanted to use.
After years of crafting her own draperies, slipcovers, and reupholstering chairs and sofas, she taught her own night school class on the subject, complete with illustrated manuals that she created for her students. Her style and her abilities quickly became known, and she started her own small decorating business.
She leaves five children, Patricia Cundiff of St. Simons Island, Georgia, Paul O’Rourke of Nantucket, Ellen O’Rourke of Mount Kisco, New York, Peter O’Rourke of Annapolis, Maryland, and Mary O’Rourke Sullivan of Marstons Mills; numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren; and other family members.
She was predeceased by two sons, Daniel O’Rourke and Robert O’Rourke Jr.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, June 18, at 11 AM at Our Lady of Assumption Church, 76 Wianno Avenue in Osterville.
Interment will be at 2:15 PM at Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne.