Laurence L. O'hara, Psychologist

November 22, 2009|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,larry.carson@baltsun.com

Laurence L. "Larry" O'Hara, who grew up in a Baltimore orphanage, served 25 years in the Army and spent the past 19 years traveling the country with his dog and camera, died Thursday of kidney disease complicated by a heart attack and dementia at his daughter's home in Salina, Kan.He was 77.

"He was a soldier. He loved being a soldier," said the daughter, Valerie O'Hara Wilson of Salina, one of his six children. He was also a very free-spirited person, she said, the descendant of Irish immigrants who came to Baltimore from County Mayo, Ireland, in 1873.

He was one of 10 children, but his mother Loretta died in childbirth in September 1932, and at the age of 2, he joined his siblings at St. Patrick's Orphanage, Mrs. Wilson said. He stayed there until going to live with an older sister at age 14. He got a brother to lie about his age, and he joined the Army at age 15 and served in both the Korean and Vietnam wars.

In 1953, he married Dorothy Tornensky of Baltimore. After his deployments, he returned to the Baltimore/Fort Meade area until his family moved in 1972; the marriage ended in divorce the next year. Patty Weis, his second wife, died in 1980.

After retiring from the Army as a major, Mr. O'Hara built his academic resume with two advanced degrees in psychology, and then began a private practice as a therapist in Huntsville, Ala. He later lived in Tennessee, where he taught wilderness photography.

He had lived with his daughter since September, when he became ill near Moab, Utah.

A graveside military service is scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday at Roselawn Cemetery, Salina, Kan.

Survivors also include daughters Lauren Forson, of Lebanon, Tenn., Donna Buchenau of Gypsum, Kan., Leslie Rodriquez of Auburn, Wash., and Janine Helton, of Franklin, Tenn.; a son, Sonny O'Hara, of Bullhead City, Ariz.; 23 grandchildren; and 21 great-grandchildren.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.