Biography of Walter O'Hearn - Lt.Viewers able to provide more information (stories or photos) are asked to contact Dan Delong.
Extracted from the photo of the Crew of the Nene on deck taken March 1945
Photo from the book "NENE LIVES The Story of H.M.C.S. Nene & her Crew" - 1993
Updated October 12, 2004
Walter O'Hearn Jr., who lives in New York City, sent along a personal note, an obituary for his father, and the citation given at the 1969 Convocation of Saint Mary's University on the occasion of his father's posthumous Honorary Degree. Walter Jr. mentioned that his father spoke of many North Atlantic runs to Murmansk during his four+ years away from home. He also mentioned that Walter Sr. was offered the Canadian ambassador's office at the United Nations by Lester Pearson, in the last two years of his life. Although evening television news was severely damaging the survivability of major newspapers at the time, his sense of loyalty to the Montreal Star prevailed.
WALTER O'HEARN, NEWSMAN, IS DEAD
Columnist, Executive Editor of Montreal Star, Was 59
Special to The New York Times
MONTREAL, Aug. 9 (1969)-Walter D. O'Hearn, executive editor of The Montreal Star, died last night at the age of 59. He had suffered a heart attack earlier in the week.
One of Canada's most distinguished journalists, Mr. O'Hearn was known for his versatility, which allowed him to write book reviews for The New York Times, do analytical reporting from the United Nations
and produce whimsical pieces about two imaginary Irish women-Mrs. Harrigan and Mrs. Mulchay-discussing the vital issues of the day.
Mr. O'Hearn, who was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, begat his career in 1929 as a reporter for The Halifax Herald. He came to Montreal in 1932 and joined the now-defunct Montreal Herald as an assistant editor. He became managing editor two years later and held this post until 1940.
He brought his talent for treating serious subjects with a light touch to The Standard in 1940, writing a column on a wide variety of topics.
Mr. O'Hearn served in the Canadian Navy during World War II, and a year after his discharge in 1945 was sent to New York as resident correspondent of The Star.
He was a founding member and first president of the United Nations Correspondents Association. While at the United Nations, Mr. O'Hearn wrote; two books-published by the, Canadian Institute for international Affairs in cooperation with the Carnegie Foundation --"United Nations' Struggle for Peace" and "Canada Stands Up."
On returning to Montreal in 1953, he became literary and drama editor of The Star and in 1958 was made managing editor. In 1964 he was made executive editor and last year he became a director of the company.
Selections of Mr. O'Hearn's weekly column in The Star's entertainment section were published in a book under two names—"Lady Chatterley, Latterly" and "The Member From Pasquobit."
Mr. O'Hearn was in wide demand as a speaker, particularly because of his insight and understanding of what he considered one of the most important stories in North America—the rise of French nationalism in Quebec. He had a deep feeling for the cause of French cultural identity in Canada.
He served four terms as director of The Canadian Press, was an officer of the Corporation des Quotidiens du Quebec Quebec Dailies, Inc.), and a member of The Montreal Arts council.
His first wife, the former Mary McGrath, is dead, They had a son, Walter Jr., a lawyer in New York, and three daughters, Eileen, Mrs. Curt Rudolf Miller and Mrs. Theodorus Taniniau, who survive.
His second wife, the former Dorothy Fletcher, and their two sons, Michael and Peter, also survive.
C O N V O C A T I O N
Friday, October Third, Nineteen Hundred and Sixty-Nine
C I T A T I O N
Walter Donald O'Hearn
Most Reverend Chancellor:
Saint Mary's University is more grieved than it can say that Walter O'Hearn is no longer with us, but is happy however that his son, Walter O'Hearn, Jr. by appearing in his stead, has enabled this University to honour the memory of a man, much esteemed and greatly loved.
Mr. O'Hearn, the son of the late Judge and Mrs. Peter O'Hearn was born in Halifax and educated, as was his brother, Peter, who survives him, at Saint Mary's University. His Alma Mater does not wish to claim credit for Mr. O'Hearn's personal qualities, but hopes, nevertheless that its influence may have enhanced that broad range of interest both in politics and the arts which made him so popular as a speaker both within and outside the province.
Over the many long years which he spent amidst the pressures and hurly-burly of newspaper journalism, he accumulated the respect and never lost the admiration of those who worked with him either as colleagues or competitors. "He was a newspaper man's newspaper man" (one of them said) "a journalist who could turn his hand to any form of writing from light entertainment to the serious aspects of politics, government and commerce' and who could serve with a high capability as an administrator.
Walter O'Hearn began a forty-year career in Halifax when he joined the Herald in 1929. But it was in Montreal that he was to do his life's work. During his
brief association with the Montreal Herald and the Montreal Standard he developed a special interest in and appreciation of the aims and attitudes of French Canada. This was a subject very dear to his heart, but yet, in the city of his adoption he frequently reflected with pleasure on the city of his birth. The man who saw the possibility of Anglo-French understanding in Quebec dreamed also of the dinner of the Charitable Irish Society in Halifax.
After the Second World War, during which Mr. O'Hearn served in the Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Re-serve, he became the Star's resident correspondent in New York, where his talented abilities were quickly perceived by colleagues in journalism who elected him first president of the United Nations Correspondents Association.
Two books emerged out of Walter O'Hearn's experience at the United Nations: Canada Stand Up and United Nations Struggle for Peace. In the subject of International Affairs Mr. O'Hearn was well known as an expert, but it was a particular relish, both knowledgeable and enthusiastic, for theatre, the arts, films and literature which brought him back to Montreal in 1953 as literary and drama editor of The Star. His talents, how-ever, ensured promotion and he rose to Executive Editor by 1964. In this position Walter O'Hearn gave his utmost
as a journalist. He reported, interpreted, commented and reviewed with a freshness and penetration which always reflected credit upon him.
But 'nothing in his life became him like the leaving it'. Walter O'Hearn died as he would have wished, at his desk.
Most Reverend Chancellor, Walter O'Hearn was touched and pleased by the offer of an honorary degree. This University, however, has been forestalled by One than whose honours none are greater. It is then, with
a sense of humility that Saint Mary's University requests that you confer upon Walter D. O'Hearn the posthumous degree, Doctor of Letters, honoris causa.
WORKED FOR THE MONTREL STAR MANY YEARS AGO AND HE HAS SINCE PASSED ON,
BUT I KNOW STAN ZATYLNY AS I USED TO LIVE IN VERDUN.
was President of the United Nations Correspondents Association 1949-1950
Riley, a shipmate, recalls that Walter was the Editor of the Montreal
Star for some time.
Webmaster: Dan Delong - Updated: November 30, 2002