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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, January 11, 2002

Edward J. O'Rourke, ex-UH dean, dead at 79

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer

Dr. Edward J. O'Rourke, former dean of the University of Hawai'i School of Public Health, died Jan. 5 in Honolulu. He was 79.

O'Rourke was born in Massachusetts on Nov. 18, 1922. He spent 13 years with the U.S. Public Health Service and was assistant chief of the Bureau of Health Services.

In 1966 the mayor of New York, John Lindsay, appointed O'Rourke as the city's health commissioner. During his tenure, O'Rourke made two health emergency declarations, including one during the city's 1968 garbage workers' strike.

O'Rourke resigned in 1968 and moved to Hawai'i to become head the School of Public Health. He is credited with helping to expand the school, which has since lost its accreditation and been melded into the School of Medicine.

O'Rourke led the school until Jan. 1, 1973, when he resigned to work for a private medical company in New York.

O'Rourke later returned to the Islands and lived in Kailua.

He is survived by his wife, Marian; sons, Edward Jr., Thomas, Tony and Paul; daughter, Connie; brothers, Paul and Hugh; and eight grandchildren.

Services will be private.