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KYW Sports Reporter Jack O’Rourke Dies At 80

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – We have another bit of sad news from our KYW Newsradio family. Sportscaster Jack O’Rourke died suddenly early Saturday morning after covering the Phillies game. He was 80.

You’ll know Jack O’Rourke for his sports reporting and well you should.

“But in the 11th, it was the Cardinals who took control.”

Jack was a fixture of our Phillies coverage from Spring Training through Red Octobers and brought to the job decades of perspective. Although he cut his broadcasting teeth in news, he was a KYW Newsradio anchor and even City Hall Bureau Chief, his sports reporting took him all over the world covering Olympics and other events. He won a Peabody while at NBC, no mean feat.

Remembering Jack O’Rourke:

(Reflections on the life and carreer of KYW’s Jack O’Rourke from NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, as well as the Phillies’ Charlie Manual, Dave Montgomery, Larry Shenk and Ruben Amaro, Jr.)

Back in then 60’s when Jack was in news he worked with now NBC TV correspondent Andrea Mitchell.

jack in station vehicle KYW Sports Reporter Jack ORourke Dies At 80“He had the enthusiasm and the love of any beat he covered. We worked very closely on election nights and on transportation stories, Septa strikes, all kinds of stories. We were just a gang of young-ish reporters, we thought reinventing the news. What an extraordinary, loving, kind man.”

Jack’s son 50-year-old Sean O’Rourke calls his dad his best friend and a gentleman to all.

“It didn’t matter who you were you could be Charlie Manuel or you could be his son he treated everyone the same.”

KYW editor and reporter Robin Culverwell:

“He just bubbled over with enthusiasm for what he was doing, where he was going. He made a job out of going to spring training for God’s sake. C’mon! Who could do that and get paid for it? Jack O’Rourke.”

Delaware County Times sports columnists Jack McCaffery was in the press box when Jack collapsed after interviewing Phillies players. He says he is saddened with the loss of Jack and he was a true professional.

“You saw how well he did his job over the years and I would always be amazed at how clear his voice was. He was a treat to watch work.”

KYW reporter and anchor David Madden:

“Jack has a joy for life that was absolutely infectious to everyone he touched. He looked forward to spring training and covering every game and it’s just not going to be the same without him.”

Former CBS 3 Meteorologist Tom Lamaine:

“What you can say about Jack is the best thing you can say about anybody. If the last thing you were doing on earth was what you enjoyed doing best, and what he did best. And that was reporting on the games.”

“It’s not just the professional attitude and the great coverage that he’s given everybody across this region for so long about the professional teams, but, if you knew the man, he really loved what he did, he loved sports and you can tell he really loved his family as well,” says colleague Kevin Scholla.

That family includes children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren. To all, our sympathies in a shocking, painful time.

If you’re never fully dressed without a smile, then Jack was always turned out. A grin and a twinkle in his eye would start any encounter and he could make you feel that you were just the person he’d been waiting to see.

Read Jack’s Biography.

Reported By John Ostapkovich, John McDevitt KYW Newsradio

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  • Doug Spero

    I worked with Jack at WNBC-Radio in NY in the early and mid 70s. I was the morning editor then on the Imus show and Jack was one of the most active-positive-and professional people I ever worked with! When I became a reporter at WNBC-TV and later at WCBS-Radio/TV Jack would always call with his congrats!! I always loved going out on his big boat on the bay. With the amount of beer we put away it was amazing that we ever found land! I will miss him dearly. Doug Spero

  • Stories Posted Monday, September 20, 2011 : Media News At This Hour

    […] KYW’s voice of the Phillies died Friday night.  Jack’s will be on Friday. Here’s a link to the KYW postings about O’Rourke, which includes audio of the tributes from Andrea Mitchell and some of the […]

  • Jennifer

    I am just like the radio says..I listen two, three, four times a day. I feel badly for your loss at the station..Karen will be missed and Jack will be missed. Thoughts and prayers are with their families and with the family they have at the KYW. Very, very sad.

  • SatelliteSteve

    Just last night I called it a day and hit the sack and the Timex clock radio to listen to some news and a voice with perfect clarity and excellent summary details even my half deaf ears could understand told me Jack was in the ballpark. Funny how you take some things for granted. A perfect example is trying to listen to some newsreader running words so quickly you go for closed captioning just to see if you heard it right the first time. Jack had that next door neighbor type of reporting.
    Then…poof….*……like a flash of light……

  • KYW’s Jack O’Rourke Dies Suddenly At 80 | Philly TV and Radio

    […] LD_AddCustomAttr("AdOpt", "0"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Origin", "other"); LD_AddCustomAttr("theme_bg", "ffffff"); LD_AddCustomAttr("theme_border", "cccccc"); LD_AddCustomAttr("theme_text", "333333"); LD_AddCustomAttr("theme_link", "0060ff"); LD_AddCustomAttr("theme_url", "df0000"); LD_AddCustomAttr("LangId", "1"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Autotag", "sports"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Autotag", "television"); LD_AddSlot("wpcom_below_post"); LD_GetBids(); Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. ← Rachael Ray Philly Episode Airs September 26 […]

  • So Little Time « What's Next Brenda Blog

    […] While I have not worked at KYW Newsradio since the end of 2000, I have remained friends with many of my former colleagues. We talk, have a lunch, share an email and from a distance, I have appreciated the people who I spent 15 years of my life with. In the past year, sadness has struck that newsroom in a profound way. I cannot imagine what it has been like to cover news on a day-to-day basis and experience behind the scenes what has been going on in that news family. Two former colleagues lost their spouses. One of those colleagues also lost her mother within a day of losing her husband; the other had recently lost his brother before his wife died. Another former colleague died of cancer. Then this week, two former Newsradio colleagues died in the same week. Karin Phillips at the age of 53 and last night, Jack O’Rourke at the age of 80. […]

  • Julius May

    I feel bad for everyone at KYW. Tuesday, Karin Phillips and now this news. So sad.

  • Mike D

    Sad to learn about Karin and Jack. While I heard Karin from time to time, I knew Jack O’Rourke.
    When I was a kid, and living in a different part of the state, he was with a Susquehanna Valley AM’er known as WNOW where he did news and a talk show (I also saw him at Mass especially when I was a server). Short story, without Jack I would have never gotten into commercial broadcasting. In the summer I would listen to his show and was intrigued by how much one person could know about so many topics. This was before most talk show hosts became little more than “gas-bags” and “self-promoters”. Jack was concerned about issues, and in that part of the state, the John Birch Society and KKK were very big. You’ll find more bigots per mile in York and Adams counties than in Alabama. So he had a tough audience. If you can believe it, a big issue was “fluoridation” and people would call in to rant and rave that “fluorine” would turn their children’s brains to mush and they’d be easy picking for the Commies (true I am not making this up). One day I decided to call in and comment on something and to my surprise, Jack must have liked what I said, because he told me to call back. I explained that I was a “young” person (back then I was); didn’t matter to Jack. A few years later, when I was about 14 saw him after Mass and asked if he could show me the station; never hesitated, told my parents when to bring me by for a tour. For those who knew him, he was warm, encouraging and never, ever talked down to people. You can imagine my surprise when I moved to this part of the state and in the late 80’s heard him on KYW brought back childhood memories. Thanks to Jack, and his interest in me as one person, I not only went on to commercial broadcasting (worked my way through college) but he may have saved my life. Because of my combined amateur and commercial radio licenses, the Army saw fit to commission me in the Signal Corps where I was an information & broadcast officer instead of being an 11-B with a rifle and entrenching tool. All because Jack took a call from a young kid who liked radio. Condolences to the family. RIP Jack you ARE a true gentleman.

  • Charmaine Hurst

    I am sad this happened.First Karen Phillips last week and now Jack O’Rourke.There has been 4 people that passed from KYW.Fred Sherman from SOVEREIGN BANK and another news reporter.I for got his name.Sad.It seems eerie.

  • Jim Lipoff

    Jack will be missed. Every time I turned on KYW1060 to hear about news and the Phillies it was always his voice. Since I was 10 years old and i am now pushing close to 50 years. Between Jack and Harry K. they had the Phillies down pat. Another great Sports casters mic is quiet . Jack RIP , You will be missed just like Harry K but we will always have the best times together.

  • Harry Hamburg

    I knew Jack for close to 35 years. We commuted to NY together when he was at NBC and I at the NY Daily News. We covered an Olympics and Super Bowls together. He the radio maven. I the photographer. We kept in touch over the years. I even photographed one of his children’s weddings. Our personal lives interloped and he was there for me when my wife died 9 years ago. I now mostly live in London but returned a few days ago. One thing on the ‘to do’ list was to get in touch with Jack whom I had not talked to since the summer.
    Sad. I waited to loog

    • Teresa O'Rourke

      Harry-Dad and I spoke of you last week. Just wanted you to know that.

  • nat

    i will miss his spring training reports

  • Frank

    There seems to be a number of KYW deaths over the last year.

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