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John F. O'Riordan - Obituary
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Philadelphia Inquirer
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.

After marrying 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."

Mr. O'Riordan's 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.

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