Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Richard O'Hara  

Pen Name: None

Genre: History Non-Fiction Other

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1948 in Streator, Illinois

-- Richard O'Hara on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Rich O'Hara lived in Illinois from 1948 until he enlisted in the Air Force in 1971. His hometown is Streator, which is in LaSalle County. He graduated from Streator Township High School in 1966 as an honor student and attended the University of Illinois in Champaign/Urbana for five glorious years, graduating with a B. S. in Psychology in 1971. After a brief sojourn in the Air Force, he attended graduate school in Madison, Wisconsin and then embarked on a 30-year career in the environmental field. He retired in 2010 and started writing books as a hobby, mostly histories about his home town.

Biographical and Professional Information

Following his graduation from the University of Illinois-Champaign, Rich enlisted as a Navigator with the KC-135 aerial refueling squadron in the US Air Force, 1971-1977. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1980 with a M.S. in Urban and Regional Planning. From 1980 to 2010 he made his career in the Environmental field, working in succession with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Waste Management, Inc. (Oak Brook), Sheaffer International (Glen Ellyn), & American Ecology in Boise, Idaho. He lives in Boise today, with his wife, Patti, an artist and actress of note.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

The Sisters of Mercy
ISBN: 1497418836

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 2014

The 50’s created the America we know today and this little book tracks that tumultuous age through the starry eyes of students at St. Mary's who trudged through snow, ate ground beef with gravy on mashed potatoes, wrote with fountain pens, covered themselves with ink, and endured daily trauma in pursuit of an elementary education and the elusive state of grace. Join the kids of Immaculate Conception Parish as they enter the atomic age, witness the dawn of Rock & Roll, watch "Leave it to Beaver" and attempt to memorize the entire Baltimore Catechism before they turn delinquent.

America's Greatest Minstrel: Honey Boy Evans
ISBN: 1502387387

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 2014

George "Honey Boy" Evans was a superstar the most popular and highest-paid minstrel in America. He topped the charts with his song "In the Good Old Summertime" and his traveling shows packed auditoriums from coast to coast. His tragic death signaled the end of the minstrel show as a unique American institution. He was that irreplaceable. This is the first book about his life.

The Sensation of the Century: Streator's World Famous Zouaves
ISBN: 1502550679

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 2014

The Streator Zouaves were an absolute sensation whenever they performed, and they were the leading act in Vaudeville palaces all over the world. They were a drill team that was as smooth as silk and perfecting timed. Audiences were delighted at the spectacle of 16 young men acting in perfect unison. And the finale caused thunderous applause as the Zouaves attacked at 20-foot wall and vaulted over it in less than 30 seconds. This is their full story and the first book on these amazing young athletes.

Little Star: Vaudeville from Beginning to End
ISBN: 1500847119

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 2014

This full-color book was inspired by the discovery of 16 vintage Vaudeville publicity photographs stuffed into cardboard boxes and abandoned on the bank of the Vermilion River. The book illuminates this collection, presenting many of the photographs full size and using them all to illustrate a history of Vaudeville from beginning to end.

The Narrow Roads: In Search of Old Japan
ISBN: 1519355920

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 2015

The latest work by a gifted writer, and his first foray into the travel narrative. O'Hara's writing is crisp, inventive and endlessly entertaining. There’s never a dull moment on this excursion. This is the first book by a western writer to explore life along the Kumano Kodo, the sacred pilgrimage route in the mountainous Kii Peninsula of south central Japan. O'Hara deftly weaves together his own experiences with the stories of the cultural icons that dot his path. The result is a new appreciation of the beauty and importance of this little-known terrain. Find a patch of shade, a cool breeze and a well-cushioned chair. Then relax as you stroll through Japan with this delightful guide.

Streator Air Service: An Illustrated and Annotated Episodic History
ISBN: 1505579627

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 2014

The Streator airport was first laid out in 1937 and was an enduring part of the city's life for many years. The history of this little airport illustrates how changing times brought people together through their love of flying. There are some marvelous stories here and rare photographs that capture the era in a unique way. The Streator airport is now just a memory, the lonely runway crumbles more each day. This book brings its glory days back to life.

The Glass Bottle Manufacturing Capital of the World: A Few Stories from Streator, Illinois
ISBN: 1500642746

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 2014

A small collection of stories from a small town in Illinois. Rich O'Hara spent his boyhood in the burg that called itself "The Glass Bottle Manufacturing Capital of the World." Here he recounts his early experiences working as an ice cream vendor and factory laborer, takes us on a tour of Main Street, and closes out with a little history of the glass bottle and a loving reminder of a friend who knew how to have fun. Find yourself some shade and a glass of lemonade and spend an afternoon in a place far away. And when you're done, pick up a copy of Rich's latest book, "The Narrow Roads," and have even more fun.

Home from the War: Nine Accounts of WW II
ISBN: 1522846131

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 2015

A well-illustrated compilation of the recollections and histories of ten veterans of World War II. The action ranges all across the globe and throughout the major branches of the service. First hand accounts of Pearl Harbor and other historic events create a unique experience for readers young and old.

Streator Boys: Three Veterans of World War II
ISBN: 1523686103

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 2016

The story of three young men who left their hometown in the heart of the country and fought for our liberty on foreign shores.

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