Ms. O’Rourke was born on June 29,1953 in Northeast Philadelphia to Irish-Catholic parents, Elizabeth (Bess) and William O’Rourke. Bess worked in the home and William was a fireman and dockworker. Ms. O’Rourke was one of eight children. She attended Cardinal Dougherty High School and Penn State University. As a child, she was an accomplished baton twirler who performed in numerous competitions, parades, and even appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show.
Ms. O’Rourke began her career at the retail end of the textile and apparel supply chain as a fabric buyer at Sears Roebuck. In 1978 she joined Werner Associates, at the time the world's leading textile consulting group. She brought a new focus and dimension to Werner's business and developed a strong marketing and strategy practice, which she led as Executive Vice President. In 1999 she founded O'Rourke Group Partners and as President and CEO, has led the company to its preeminent position as the world's leading textile and apparel consulting group. Over the last 16 years, she and her team have counseled more than 650 blue-chip clients in 48 countries. Ms. O’Rourke loved the challenge and the travel that her work involved, as well as mentoring young executives. Her personal expertise, industry, and integrity have stamped her career.
Ms. O’Rourke married her childhood friend, Edward Scannapieco in 1975. The two had one daughter, Maureen Scannapieco. They divorced in 1985 and remained friends.
In 2005, Ms. O’Rourke married Stephen Miller of Ventnor, New Jersey. They enjoyed an active lifestyle as residents of the Jersey Shore, attending concerts, Phillies games, fly fishing, socializing with friends, and traveling. What they enjoyed most however, was happy hour on their porch while looking at the water. Friends would come by in droves, stopping to chat as they went to the beach or walked their dogs. Ever the “organizer,” Ms. O’Rourke spearheaded neighborhood gatherings and the annual Christmas party.
Ms. O’Rourke considered Ireland her home away from home. She was well versed in Irish music, customs, and history. She adored the country’s people and its green patchwork hills. She visited as often as she could, and loved sharing her beloved Ireland with friends and family.
She volunteered with several organizations throughout her life including the New York Fire Department, the Fashion Institute of Technology, Spirit-Eagles Field Hockey Club, and the United States Field Hockey Association.
Ms. O’Rourke is survived by her husband, Stephen Miller, daughter and son-in-law Maureen (nee Scannapieco) and August Leming, step-daughter and son-in-law Lauren (nee Miller) and Daniel Carney, stepson, Stephen Miller, Jr., and grandson Jude Leming. She is also survived by five siblings and their families: William and Corky O’Rourke, Robert and Chris O’Rourke, Patricia and Carole O’Rourke, Dolores and AnthonyDelliColli, Margaret and Steve Blouin.
Mary O’Rourke will be remembered as a loving wife and mother, brilliant businesswoman, and a generous and fun-loving friend.
Her life will be celebrated with an Episcopal Mass at Holy Trinity Church, 2998 Bay Ave., Ocean City, NJ, on Saturday, February 27th at 11 a.m. Friends may call at the church beginning at 10:30. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital, 3535 Market Street, Suite 750, Philadelphia, PA 19104.