Joseph O’Rourke surprised everyone when he came into the world on October 1st, 1929. His parents had met on a ship sailing to America. His mother was a young Irish woman. His father was one of the ship’s engineers. They met, fell in love, came to America and settled in New York. While on holiday back in Ireland, Joe’s mother was in for a surprise when she realized she was not only pregnant, but due to give birth very soon. Joe was born in Ireland and the family decided to stay a few years to begin raising him there.
Growing up, Joe spent time living in Ireland, England and the United States. He first decided to begin a military career while living in England, after the end of the Second World War. He was about sixteen years old when the troops began coming back to England from Germany and other countries. It was then that he decided that military life interested him. Later on, back in the United States, he and some friends decided to enlist in the American Air Force. His friends eventually backed away from the plans to enlist, but Joe saw it through. He joined the Air Force and was sent to Germany to train and help in the post-war Allied occupation of Germany.
After some time in Germany, Joe returned to England to serve at an American base. One day, he was visiting some friends when he passed by a group of boy scouts, trying to learn how to tie knots. Joe had volunteered with the scouts and decided to stop and assist one young boy, about five years old, that was struggling. He did so and went on his way. About a week later, he passed by the same area and the boy scouts were also there. The young boy who he had helped called to him and said, “I told my mother about you. She wants to meet you.” Joe went to meet the young man’s mother. She shared that she was grateful for his assistance. She even invited him to coffee. That invitation to coffee became an invitation to lunch. The invitation to lunch became invitations to dinner. The rest is history. They eventually married and began their life together. As Joe says, “I met my son before I met my wife!”
After about a year of marriage, the O’Rourke family moved to America for Joe’s next military assignment. He served in the Air Force for thirty years before retiring. Over the years, he had a civilian service job unloading supplies for the troops at the Marine Corps base at Camp Pendleton. Later on, he assisted the Navy in a civilian position as well.
Time passed and Joe’s beloved wife passed away. He decided to sell his home, buy a double wide motor home and travel. He spent time in several national parks, spending most of his time in Washington and Canada. He eventually settled down in San Diego and enjoyed his days in the company of two cats. According to Joe, every night, the cats would sleep on each of his sides, curled up. Once the morning came, one of the cats would bat his nose so he would let them out. If he overslept, the cats would take it upon themselves to bat his nose even harder. They were his wakeup alarm every morning.
Nowadays, Joe can be found spending time in our 4th floor library, catching up on the latest news and stories, journaling in his room or having an afternoon cup of tea in the courtyard. Robert Baden- Powell once said, “A scout smiles and whistles under all circumstances.” Joe’s sunny disposition and gentle smile absolutely reflect that. We hope that you all have the opportunity to meet our dear friend, Joe.
A Memory Care Community
4518 54th Street • San Diego, CA 92115
Phone: (619) 287-2920
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