Longtime Trentonian and Allentown Morning Call sportswriter, and my very dear friend, Larry O’Rourke, whose tireless and courageous battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease, inspired all those around him, died Wednesday night.
Larry was 46.
Surrounded by his mother, Joyce, and father, Larry Sr., Larry braved unimaginable suffering since first exhibiting symptoms of the insidious disease and sharing fears of his pending diagnosis with myself and colleague Nick Fierro in December, 2007 while we were in New Orleans covering the Eagles.
I cried all the way back to my hotel that night.
I cried even harder at 9:48 Wednesday when Nick shared the grim news via text message.
Today, realizing his torturous pain had ended once and for all, I took a deep breath … and even managed a smile.
Respected for his intelligence, friendly nature, gift of gab and dogged determination of life and his profession, Larry’s reporting helped put the Thunder on the map before his coverage of the Eagles for The Morning Call became revered throughout the region.
A dear friend to many, Larry helped raise thousands of dollars for ALS and brain tumor research.
An avid golfer, reader, war historian, talker, drinker and unabashed fan of the Cincinnati Reds and Cincinnati Bengals, O’Rourke was remembered with a moment of silence prior to last night’s game against Harrisburg at Waterfront Park.
I will remember him for however many moments I have left on this Earth, for he has inspired me in ways I hope I adequately expressed during my last visit to the Poconos last fall.
Goodbye for now, Larry Legend.
You are already missed.
Services: Funeral mass 11 a.m. Monday at St. Ambrose R. C. Church, 201 Randel St., Schuylkill Haven, Pa. 17972. Burial will follow at the Annuncian BVM cemetery in Shenandoah Heights. Viewing hours 5:30 to 8 p.m. Sunday at the Hamilton Funeral Home, Inc. 116 S. Liberty St., Orwigsburg, PA 17961.
In lieu of flowers the family would prefer donations be made to: ALS Research at Penn State Hershey Medical Center, 30 Hope Drive, Hershey, PA 17033.