Michael Richard O’Hanlon, a retired FDNY firefighter, died Monday at his home in Cortlandt Manor following a courageous battle with a smile on his face resulting from his service at Ground Zero following the Sept. 11 terror attack. He was 59.
Mike was a 30-year veteran of Engine Company 68 in the Bronx, retiring in 2013. He and his fellow firefighters from Engine 68/Ladder 49 in Highbridge participated extensively in the rescue and recovery effort at Ground Zero in the immediate days and weeks following the collapse of the Twin Towers. Mike was born Nov. 1, 1957 in the Bronx to Con and Ann O’Hanlon. His mom (nee Power) hailed from Woodford, County Galway, and his dad from Doneraile, County Cork. Mike and his sisters Noreen and Patricia were raised in a home filled with Irish traditions and culture, music and laughter, and a deep Catholic faith. A favorite memory of his was the smell of his mom’s soda bread and treacle bread (Mike’s favorite) baking in the oven.
Mike attended schools in the Bronx and Yonkers, graduated from Mount St. Michael Academy in the Bronx, and attended Iona College before joining the Fire Department of New York in 1982. He was fiercely proud to be a part of the FDNY, which he called the “greatest job on Earth,” and he spent his 30-career in the “House on the Hill” in Highbridge. He never sought a transfer because he considered E68/L49 to the best firehouse in the City of New York.
Mike married Maggie (nee Loftus), the love of his life, his best friend and biggest supporter, on Sept. 27, 1981. They moved to Cortlandt Manor and raised three children, Katherine, Michael Jr. and Martin with the same values and traditions they experienced growing up. Through the years they enjoyed family vacations to Ireland and Long Beach Island and hosted numerous family gatherings at their home. Keeping their family close-knit was important to Mike and Maggie.
Their daughter, Katherine, married Brett Schlosser on Oct. 22, 2016, in a celebration of love, family and friends in grand Irish style. Mike and Kate showed off their Irish dancing talents in the best father-daughter dance of all time!
Mike was a member of the FDNY Emerald Society and Holy Name Society. During his career he marched with the FDNY in numerous St. Patrick’s Day parades in New York City, the metropolitan area and beyond. He was honored to represent the FDNY as grand marshal of the 2002 Missoula, Montana AOH St. Patrick’s Day parade, the first held after the 9/11 attacks. Earlier this year, Mike had the great honor of the being the Grand Marshal of the Peekskill St. Patrick’s Day parade.
Mike and his brothers from E68/L49 would hold an annual Thanksgiving feast for the “old folks” at Sacred Heart parish in Highbridge. Mike would bring his accordion and a group of fellow musicians to play for the senior citizens. They would also visit nursing homes to bring music and good cheer to the people there. In 2012, Mike received an Outstanding Service Award from Bronx Community Board 4 for his dedicated service to the people of New York.
Mike was an accomplished traditional button accordion player from a young age and played throughout his life. He competed in All-Ireland competitions in the 1970s and won an All-Ireland medal. He is a former member of the Garryowen Ceili Band, which played in numerous venues in this country and across Ireland as well, playing in Cork, Mayo, Galway and Clare to name a few locations. The band placed first in the All-Ireland Competition. Mike performed at many venues and events, but his greatest memory was playing at Carnegie Hall.
He was a regular for more than 25 years with Jack McAndrew at Guinan’s full moon sessions in Garrison, and he continued the tradition The Quiet Man Public House in Peekskill after Guinan’s closed. He was a member of the Celtic Blend Band.
Mike was a member of the Hudson Valley Irish Fest Committee and volunteered his time and talents to one of the finest festivals around. He was a supporter of the Emerald Isle Immigration Center and a proud member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians Division 18, where he was named “Man of the Year” in 2016.Mike retired in 2013, though he was fond of reminding everyone that you never really retire from the FDNY. He remained actively involved with the department and his brothers at the House on the Hill. He is survived by his wife, his children and son in law, his sisters and brothers in law, his niece and nephews, and numerous relatives both here and in Ireland. He also leaves behind his extended FDNY family and enormous number of friends who were always inspired by his courage, his kindness, his generous spirit and his loving heart. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Mike’s name to the FDNY Family Transport Foundation.
Thursday August 31, 2017
2pm-4pm & 7pm-9pm
Yorktown Funeral Home
945 East Main Street
Shrub Oak, NY, US, 10588