Tuesday, October 25,
HARLEM - Josephine O'Leary,
92, longtime educator, of Harlem died Friday, Oct. 21, 2005, in Billings at the
home of her nephew and niece, Joe and Karen Dooley.
A funeral Mass will be Friday at 11 a.m. in
St. Thomas Catholic Church with burial following
in Harlem Cemetery. Rosary will be recited on
Thursday evening at 7 p.m. in St.
Thomas Catholic Church.
She was born July 25, 1913, in Cleveland, Ohio,
to Joseph and Julia (Wolf) Mohar. Her parents, lured
by free land, came to Montana
in 1914 and homesteaded in the area known as Cherry Patch.
Josephine graduated from Harlem High School
in 1930, sharing valedictorian honors with Patty Walker. Patty wrote the
valedictory address and Jo delivered it. Following high school, Jo went off to Montana State Normal
College in Dillon to
obtain her two-year teaching certificate. Through the years she continued her
education by extension courses, correspondence courses, and summer sessions
that put her on campuses or in contact with the University
of Montana, Northern
and back to Western
Her efforts culminated in 1956, when she received her bachelor's degree from Western Montana College,
with a major in English and minors in social studies and physical education.
Jo spent the first 24
years of her teaching career in Blaine County Rural, Hogeland,
Harlem, Chinook and Frazer schools. She taught in Chinook until 1957.
She married Steve O'Leary in 1957 and moved
back to Harlem, where Steve was owner-operator
of Chevron Service Station and bulk plant. After a 13-year absence from the
classroom, she continued her educational career in Hays then went back to Harlem elementary to teach library science and be an
assistant librarian. It was a privilege for her to be asked by her former
sixth-grade class to speak at the 1957 Harlem High School
commencement, the first former student and teacher to be asked to do so. She
was also president of the local Montana
Education Association, member of State Field Services Committee M.E.A., and
co-authored an article for the National Elementary Principal's journal. She
retired from education in 1980.
Jo was an active member
of the Harlem Senior Citizens Center since assisting in its organization in
1973 and served as bookkeeper, director, secretary and president. She
was highly honored and humbled by being selected as Area III's
Senior Citizen of the Year in 1989. She advocated senior issues through the
Governor's Conference on Aging and represented Blaine County
as it Legacy Legislator. When Harlem needed paved streets, Jo served as
co-chair of the Harlem Community Development
Program. When she felt a calling from her church, Jo responded by giving her
time and talent through the altar society and service as a lay minister. She
was also a member of the Lady Jacoba Fraternity of
the Secular Franciscan Order and completed extensive church studies through the
Jo was preceded in death by her parents,
Joseph and Julia (Wolf) Mohar; brothers, Frank,
Joseph, John Lewis, Victor and William (Bill); and sisters, Mary Bray Anna Bramsman and Julia Graham.
Survivors include her numerous nieces and
Memorials may be sent to the church or
Arrangements are by Edwards Funeral Home of
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
HARLEM - Josephine "JoIrene"
O'Leary, 92, died Friday, Oct. 21, 2005, at her niece's residence in Billings. Rosary will be
at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27, at Saint
Thomas Catholic Church. Funeral mass will be at 11
a.m. Friday, Oct. 28, at St. Thomas Catholic
Church, with burial following in the Harlem
Cemetery. Edwards Funeral
Home of Chinook is in charge.