Patrick O’Mara

Patrick O’Mara

Memorial service for Patrick O’Mara is Jan. 28, 1 p.m., at Valley Cemetery. A potluck will follow at the American Legion.


O’Mara died late Jan. 14 or early Jan. 15 in a single-vehicle collision on West Valley Road.

O’Mara was 54.

O’Mara’s vehicle was found upside-down Jan. 15 at 10 a.m. partially submerged in a small marsh near Raven Ridge Road.

O’Mara was found strapped in his seat; he is believed to have drowned. An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death. No evidence of drugs or alcohol were found at the scene, according to Sheriff Bill Cumming, though a toxicology screening is scheduled as a matter of standard practice.

O’Mara is survived by his father, John O’Mara, of Lynnwood; and sister Joyce, of Oregon.

O’Mara was born Aug. 3, 1951, in Seattle. He served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War and, according to his father, moved to San Juan Island to be closer to a dear friend.

O’Mara was an employee of Islands Convalescent Center for the past 11 years and was chaplain at the American Legion Post 163 the past four years.

Curt VanHyning, admissions director of the convalescent center, said O’Mara won the center’s monthly service award — called “Whatever It Takes” — two or three times.

“What I noticed over the last several years, Patrick became more and more aware of others, placing the needs of the community above even his own needs,” VanHyning said.

“Patrick’s biggest community service, however, was as chaplain at the American Legion.”

“He was the nicest guy I’ve ever met,” says Karl Mueller, commander of American Legion Post 163. “I lost one of my best friends in that fella. The community, the Legion and the convalescent center have really lost a great person.

“If you were sick he’d drive a hundred miles to bring you a sandwich. He’d give you the shirt off his back and he was loved by more people than I think he realized. We’re all still in shock. It’s not going to be the same around here without him.”

— Kelley Balcomb-Bartok