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Dr. John Francis (Jack) O’Leary, 94

October 1, 2012

Dr. John Francis (Jack) O’Leary of Bel Air, Md., pharmacology researcher, died Saturday, Sept. 30, 2012, in his home. He was 94.

Jack was born in 1917 to John T. and Winifred Embert O’Leary in Punxsutawney. He graduated there from Saints Cosmas & Damian Parochial High School.

One of 10 children, he was the first in his family to pursue higher education.

After receiving his B.S. in biochemistry from Penn State University in 1942, he was employed by Keystone Ordnance in Meadville, Pa., in the manufacture of TNT for the U.S. Army.

There he met Joyce Collier, and they married in 1944.

Jack and Joyce moved to Rochester, N.Y., where they started their family of seven children, while Jack worked as a research assistant on the Manhattan Project at the University of Rochester.

There he received his M.S degree in 1946 and his Ph.D. in pharmacology in 1951.

After two years as a research pharmacologist at McNeill Laboratories in Philadelphia, Dr. O’Leary began a 25-year career at the U.S. Army Edgewood Arsenal, Md., in the field of pharmacologic treatment of chemical warfare poisoning.

In conjunction with this research, he traveled internationally, authored more than 40 scientific publications and was awarded a U.S. patent on chemical agent treatment methods.

Under two U.S. presidential administrations, he briefed the Secret Service regarding treatment and defense of White House personnel against potential chemical poison assault.

After raising seven children in Bel Air, he was divorced in 1972.

He then married Anne M. Kunkel of Baltimore, and they established a home in Queenstown, Md., where they lived quietly and happily for 20 years.

After Anne’s death, he married Johanna W. Allwine in 1995; she preceded him in death in 2008.

In 2010, he returned to Bel Air, where he resided at Brightview Avondell.

Dr. O’Leary enjoyed music as a hobby and played piano and bass in various small bands.

He was a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a member of the American Chemical Society and many other professional associations, including the scientific research society Sigma Xi.

By virtue of receiving the Cold War Certificate of Recognition for Service, he was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Dr. O’Leary is survived by his seven children, Patricia E. O’Leary of Walnut Creek, Calif., J. Michael O’Leary of Encinitas, Calif., Ellen M. Post of Pylesville, Md., Jane O’Leary of Catonsville, Md., Meaghan J. Baker of Fallston, Md., Maureen (Molly) Neal of Forest Hill, Md., and Daniel R. O’Leary of Cheyenne, Wyo.

He is also survived by 15 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren; and by his beloved companion, Marcy Boyle.

In addition, Dr. O’Leary is survived by two sisters, Gertrude Wambach of Port Townsend, Wash., and Carol Marasco of Punxsutawney.

He was preceded in death by two brothers, Robert F. O’Leary and Thomas J. O’Leary; and five sisters, Winifred O’Leary, Mary Weaver, Marcella Daugherty, Patricia Powers and Katherine Meecham.

His sisters considered Jack the rock of his family, and he loved being at the center of the many O’Leary family reunions.

A funeral Mass will be at 11 a.m. today at St. Peter’s Catholic Church, 5319 Ocean Gateway, Queenstown, MD 21658, where interment will be in the church cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to: Elks National Foundation, Scholarship Fund, 2750 N. Lakeview Ave. Chicago, IL 60614-2256.

Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the the Fellows, Helfenbein & Newnam Funeral Home, P.A. in Chester, Md.

For online condolences, please visit www.fhnfuneralhome.com.

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