Mrs. Joan "Babe"  O'Hara
  • To donate here please see form at end of obituary
  • The Philip & Joan O'Hara, St. John the Apostle Catholic School Scholarship
    1968 Sandbridge Road
    Attn: Tracey Dooley, Business Manager
    Virginia Beach, VA 23456

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Memories & Candles

“Dear Kate and O'Hara family, so sad to hear of your Mom's passing. She and Phil and Kate were my favorite neighbors. I will miss them both, but...Read More »
1 of 15 | Posted by: Mary Ellen Malfitana - VA

“I will miss your beautiful smile and very friendly personality. I will pray for you and your loved ones. You will be greatly missed. ”
2 of 15 | Posted by: Patrick Parkerson - Dallas, TX

“Dear Members of the O'Hara Family,My family joins yours in sadness on the passing of your dear mother. I have a childhood memory of our families...Read More »
3 of 15 | Posted by: Christopher Priore - New York, NY

“I am sorry for your mom'spassing. What a full and wonderful life. Our prayers are with your family.Chris and Audrey Barton ”
4 of 15 | Posted by: Chris Barton - Mckeesport, PA

“Sending love and strength during this difficult time. May you all find peace in the beautiful memories and legacy of this amazing woman! ”
5 of 15 | Posted by: Monica Cepero - Fort Lauderdale, FL

“Dear O'Hara Family, DellAnn and i want you to know how sad we felt initially when we heard of Babe's death, however, the sadness was replaced with...Read More »
6 of 15 | Posted by: Robrt Sathe - Cincinnati, OH

“Our condolences to the family, from Babes cousins in Norway. Our best regards from cousin Kåre and his family. ”
7 of 15 | Posted by: Hanne Bruaas - Lavik,Norway

“Awesome mom friend ... a angel !!! ”
8 of 15 | Posted by: Michael Lecesse - Farmington, NY

“Our sincere condolences to the O'Hara family. Babe and Phil are together again. Love to all. ”
9 of 15 | Posted by: Bev & Bob Smith - Mc Murray, PA

“A special sweet, joyful, happy lady. She will be missed by all that knew her. Rest In Peace sweet Joan. ”
10 of 15 | Posted by: Ca5herine Krajeski - VA - friend

“My life was enriched through the friendship of Joan and Phil. ”
11 of 15 | Posted by: John Markham - VIRGINIA BEACH, VA

“May the Lord Bless and Keep dear Mrs. O'hara. May His face be shining upon her. Much love and prayers to all the family as you suffer the loss of...Read More »
12 of 15 | Posted by: Rebecca Foxhoven - Naples, FL

“So sorry to hear of Joan's passing. I will always remember being invited to sit with your family at your dining room table when delivering papers to...Read More »
13 of 15 | Posted by: Jim Sammarone - Edgewwod, PA

“Andy and Kim, Our deepest sympathies on the loss of your Mom. She always had a sweet smile and wanted a family update whenever we saw her. ”
14 of 15 | Posted by: Bob and Sue Ann Oltman - VA

“What a beautiful tribute. Mrs. O'Hara was truly one of the most generous people I know. I graced that dining table more than I should've and...Read More »
15 of 15 | Posted by: Sally McDonough - Dallas, TX

Love Emblem

Joan "Babe" Gertrude O'Hara, died Saturday, January 9th at home in Dallas, Texas. Under hospice care for two months prior to her death, Babe had a gentle and peaceful passing surrounded by several of her children, befitting her gentle and peaceful life of 90-plus years.

Babe was born on April 10, 1930, in Valley City, North Dakota, the youngest of eight children, to Norwegian born parents, Andrew and Gena Sathe. She grew up in Williston, ND. Babe was always friendly and upbeat and had the honor of being her high school homecoming queen, fitting her beauty both without and within. She attended St. Olaf College for one year, then headed east in 1949 to the nation's capital to work and live near her sister. In Washington D.C. she went on a blind date with Marine Corps Officer Philip O'Hara, who instantly became the love of her life. He proposed a week later, and they married after 7 months, on August 19th, 1950. Over the next 67 years, they lived in D.C., Florida, Texas, North Carolina, North Dakota, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Virginia, and finally following the loss of her beloved Phil in January, 2018, she moved to Dallas, Texas.

Babe and Phil had 15 children in the first 23 years of marriage, 8 boys and 7 girls. Babe enjoyed enthusiastically supporting her family in their love of Pittsburgh sports, thoroughbred horse racing, and any number of other activities and interests, always loyal to the teams and cities of her family members and the beloved Marine Corps of her husband and five of her sons. She sat through uncounted numbers of plays and pageants, parent-teacher meetings, little league baseball, field hockey, and basketball, high school football, track, cross country and basketball, and a few college sports events, as well. Marine Corps graduations occurred many times. She could have earned an advanced degree in all the time spent cheering her children on. Babe was known to remark that her favorite child was the one who was sick or farthest from home. However, all of her children knew that she actually loved each one of them most.

Babe nurtured her large family, cooking plentiful and gourmet quality meals day after day after day, stocking up the large potato chip tins with everyone's favorite chocolate chip cookies, and always welcoming the stranger and adding another plate to the table with an open heart and warm smile. That is probably over 50,000 prepared meals, and possibly feeding 500,000. No one could count the number of changed diapers.

Babe was a strong, practicing Catholic who led by example, together with Phil, instilling in their children the values they carried in themselves. Babe likened her life to the movie, Barnum, the Greatest Show on Earth, with Phil as her colorful leading man, taking her places and opening her world to exciting experiences she never would have imagined. In fact, in 1996, Phil and Joan left for a 10 and 1/2 month European vacation. They spent time in London, Paris, Florence and Rome, and visited the countries of their heritage, Ireland and Norway.

Babe will always be remembered for her attention to those around her. She always sent birthday cards to to her children, in-laws, grandchildren, other relatives and friends, and even took on this task in her last years at her independent living residence for the other residents, often sending 20 or more cards to them each month. She could recall every birthday with ease, and everyone looked forward to her handwritten notes and updates that sounded as if she were in the room chatting.

Babe is survived by her 15 children, (listed with their spouses): Kathleen O'Hara, James and Kathleen O'Hara, Philip and Janis O'Hara, Stephen and Lori O'Hara, John and Robin O'Hara, Dani-Marie Jones, Shawn O'Hara, Andrew and Kimberly O'Hara, Charles O'Hara, Nancy and Peter Bizon, Susan O'Hara White, Matthew and Michele O'Hara, Kelly and Michael Weisenberg, Kristin O'Hara, and Joseph O'Hara and Lizbeth Scordo; her sister Adah Marie "Honen" Jefferis: 33 beautiful grandchildren, 20 wonderful great-grandchildren, and many beloved nieces, nephews, and cousins, in the states as well as Norway. She was preceded in death by her husband, Phil, 6 siblings, and her beloved son-in-law, Jim Jones. She is loved by her children's spouses, aka "the outlaws", as strongly as by her own kids.

Babe has indelibly touched the hearts and minds of so many, never seeking attention or commendation, acting out of a purity of love and goodness and a strong and guiding faith.

A memorial Service is planned for Saturday, January 16, at 11am eastern/10 am central/9am mountain/8am pacific time. It will be live streamed at:
NorthbrookCatholic.Church. Go to the website, then to livestreams, then scroll to Sat. 1/16 10am mass or Joan O'Hara funeral.

A replay will be available for one week. Any changes to this, if they should arise, will be posted here.

Burial is expected to take place in late summer in Quantico, VA, alongside her husband, Phil. Future details can be obtained by emailing

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to:
The Philip and Joan O'Hara, St. John the Apostle Catholic School Scholarship (using the information to complete the form below), or to Feeding America or any meaningful organization that embodies her spirit.

For Scholarship form:


St. John the Apostle Catholic School
Attention: Tracey Dooley, Business Manager
1968 Sandbridge Road
Virginia Beach, Virginia 23456

RE: The Philip & Joan O'Hara, St. John the Apostle Catholic School Scholarship

Dear Ms. Dooley:

Enclosed please find my contribution in the amount of $_____________, to be credited to the Philip & Joan O'Hara, St. John the Apostle Catholic School Scholarship.

Please send confirmation of my tax-deductible donation to:


Should you need to contact me for any other reason, please call me at: