September 27/28, 2000
John F. O'Riordan,
76, a proud Irishman who managed F. Emmett Fitzpatrick's victorious
campaign for district attorney over incumbent Arlen Specter, died
Monday of heart failure at Lankenau Hospital. Mr. O'Riordan also
served as deputy managing director under Mayor Frank Rizzo and was
active in a number of political campaigns.
Born in St.
Michael's Parish in North Philadelphia, he graduated from Northeast
Catholic High School in 1942 and entered the Air Force. He later
was a squadron navigator and earned the rank of captain. He graduated
from St. Joseph's College in 1952 and attended the University of
Pennsylvania Law School for two years but found he was more interested
in debating and city politics.
He was chairman
of the 19th Ward Democratic Executive Committee, chairman of the
Democratic Veterans Committee, and an aide to then-City Council
President James H. Tate. He was also an early supporter of the late
Mayor Richardson Dilworth.
nursing supervisor Patricia Loftus in 1953, Mr. O'Riordan worked
as a real estate broker in the 1950s and '60s when his children
were growing up, and then returned to politics. He left a successful
real estate career to become campaign manager for Fitzpatrick, a
college friend. After Fitzpatrick was elected, Mr. O'Riordan became
his executive assistant. "He wanted to bring whatever good
he could from the political office to the populace," Fitzpatrick
said yesterday. "He loved the individuals who were just citizens."
first wife died in August 1982 after nearly three decades of marriage.
In September 1991, he married Mary Bridget Devlin and moved to Narberth.
Recently, he enjoyed traveling to Ireland and researching genealogy
with Irish expatriates. He loved studying early American history,
as well as the histories of Ireland and Philadelphia, and wrote
the history of St. Michael's School for its 125th anniversary. In
addition to his second wife, Mr. O'Riordan is survived by sons John
Jr., Martin J. and Daniel; daughters Maureen, Elizabeth and Patricia
and Clare Daniels; 12 grandchildren; two sisters; and a brother.
A viewing will
be held at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at St. Martin of Tours Roman Catholic
Church, 5450 Roosevelt Blvd., Northeast Philadelphia. A Funeral
Mass will follow at 10 a.m. Memorial contributions may be made to
St. Michael's Church, 1445 N. Second St., Philadelphia 19122.