Michael Dennis O'Rourke

02/06/1940 - 03/05/2023


Obituary For Michael Dennis O'Rourke

* Updated Obituary and Service Information *

June 2, 1940 – May 3, 2023

It is with great sorrow we announce the sudden passing of Michael Dennis

O’Rourke from Spirit River, Alberta, on May 3, 2023, at the age of 82.

Mike was born on June 2, 1940, in Dashwood, Ontario. He was the eldest of 8 children. Mike worked on the family farm, and then moved out west to Coaldale, Alberta at the age of 19, where he worked on a sugar beet farm before moving to Calgary, Alberta. In Calgary, he attended SAIT to obtain his Journeyman Carpenter certification; which lead him to working as a carpenter in a furniture factory and building cabs at the Robin-Nodwell factory. While in Calgary, he met his wife, Phillis O’Rourke of 33 years; they were married on October 5, 1963. The couple moved from Calgary to Hinton, Alberta, where Mike worked as a logger, felling and cutting trees for pulp wood. Their first son Michael was born in 1965 at Hinton, and then the family moved to Rycroft, Alberta, where their second son Shawn was born in 1968 at Spirit River, Alberta. Mike’s main goal was to farm, so in 1965, he applied for and purchased a half section of fully treed Alberta Crown land and started homesteading by clearing and breaking the lands to create his farm. Along with farming, he became a partner in a construction company working on several gas plants, constructing numerous houses and businesses in the Central Peace area. In the early 1970’s he worked as the Lumber Manager at the Co-op Store in Spirit River for several years. After working at the Co-op, he continued working as a self-employed carpenter and farmer. In the late 1980’s he became a full time farmer. Mike fulfilled his lifetime dream of homesteading and becoming a successful farmer. He remained farming with his son Shawn until the day of his passing.

Mike was involved with various organizations and groups; leader of the local cubs and scouts, a longtime member of the Knights of Columbus and member of the Silver Valley Rural Electrification Association, Councilor on the Improvement District #20 (now Saddle Hills County), along with other boards and committees. After Phillis passed in 1996, Mike met Louise Dobish who became his best friend and long-time companion.

Mike was predeceased by his parents, Dennis and Clare O’Rourke, his wife, Phillis O’Rourke, daughter-in-law Angelina O’Rourke, brothers-in-law Bill Evans and Robert Wurst, his sister-in-law Gwen O’Rourke, and his brother Glenn O’Rourke.

He is survived by his children Michael (Alma) O’Rourke of Hinton, Shawn O’Rourke of Spirit River, Charlene (Ken) Speers of Edmonton, his companion Louise Dobish, his brothers and sisters-in-law (all in Ontario), Don (Julia) of Dashwood, Wayne (Barb) of Walkerton, Pat of Khiva, Joe (Betty) of Atwood, Gerard (Sandy) of Kitchener and sister and brother-in-law Mary (Jim) MacGregor of Exeter; brother and sister-in law Gerald (Gerry) Wurst of Peachland, B.C., sister-in-law Audrey Evans of Kamloops, B.C., and brother-in-law Larry Wurst of Calgary, A.B.. He is also survived by grandchildren and great-grandchildren; along with many nieces and nephews and great-nieces and nephews.

A celebration of life will be held for Mike at the Centennial Hall in Spirit River at 1:00 pm on Saturday, July 8, 2023.

Private family interment will be at the Spirit River Catholic Cemetery.

Instead of flowers, memorial donations may be made to a charity of your choice.

Care entrusted to Bear Creek Funeral Home (780) 830-7742


8 Jul

Celebration of Life

01:00 PM

Centennial Hall 4812 44 Avenue Spirit River, AB Get Directions »
by Obituary Assistant

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  • 11/06/2023

    Mike was loved and will be sadly missed by our family. Gerry and Gerald.

  • 11/06/2023

    I so very saddened that Uncle Mike has passed away. He was deeply loved.

  • 05/06/2023

    So sorry for your loss Louise, Mike Jr., Shawn and your families. He will be truly missed. Cherish your memories. He had such a big heart. Sandra Jaques

  • 26/05/2023

    My deepest condolences to Mike's family and Louise. Mike was a wonderful man, always had a smile and was ready to visit every time I met him. He will be missed by many. Rest in Peace Mike.

  • 13/05/2023

    My deepest sympathies go to Mike's loved ones. My late husband LeRoy considered Mike one of his dearest friends. LeRoy will be thrilled to greet Mike when they meet again. Sincerely, Jan Overacker - 113, 2 Trinity street, Lacombe, AB

  • 09/05/2023

    Was sad to hear about Mikes passing , when I lived and worked in Grande Prairie years ago I very much enjoyed visiting him and the farm , in some ways it was like visiting my father who passed away in 84 . My condolences to all . Sincerely Chas Dietrich

  • 07/05/2023

    We are very saddened to hear of the sudden passing of Mike Sr. Our many condolences to Louise, Shawn and Mike Jr. and your families. I always enjoyed my conversations with Mike Sr. And was always surprised at the hours long talks he would have with what were strangers at first when he'd visit us in Ontario. Somehow he would make a connection to someone they had in common and away he went! And I'm sure he still doesn't believe me when I assured him there is no sand in our livestock feed! Haha he always asked me. Every time ! Shane MacGregor and Chloe Walters

  • 06/05/2023

    So sorry to hear of Mike's passing. He was a good neighbor to my parents when we lived in Rycroft and long time friends of them as well. I remember Mike for his permanent grin and kind heart. Always will to help. Kelly (Whelan) Blanch, Red Deer, Alberta

  • 05/05/2023

    I'm saddened to hesr this news. Uncle Mike was always so kind to me. He will be missed ❤️

  • 05/05/2023

    Was an amazing grandpa to me and a wonderful great grandpa to my daughter, will miss you so much ❤️🥹

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