Michael Joseph O’Malley of Corvallis, Oregon, was born on Oct. 8, 1957 in Boston, He was the son of Michael John O’Malley and Bridget Theresa Costello O’Malley, both of Galway County, Ireland. He died suddenly at home, in the arms of his beloved wife of 30 years, on the morning of July 1, 2021.
Mike married Nell Winokur O’Malley in Lexington, Mass., on Dec. 29, 1990. They made their way from Westminster, SC to the Pacific Northwest in June of 1991, and later had two children: a daughter, Bridget Rose, and a son, Emmett Joseph.
The oldest child of immigrants, Mike was the first in his extended family to go to college. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from Northeastern University in 1981, and his Master’s Degree from Harvard University in 1990. He (proudly) dropped out of law school five times — University of Texas at Austin, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Northeastern (2x), and University of Oregon — before becoming a teacher.
From 1991 to 2006, Mike taught social studies and language arts in K-12 public education in South Carolina, the state of Washington, and Oregon. He was voted “Best Teacher” wherever he taught. In 2000, while serving as the director of Albany Night High School, he was asked to give several guest lectures at Oregon State University’s College of Education. Soon thereafter, he was offered a part-time position at OSU. Inadvertently, a Boston backtalker had become a college professor.
Mike started working full-time at the College of Education in 2006. He believed that education should inspire students to pursue their passion, free them from delusion, and direct them to those activities that best suit them to build their own stories. He took immense pride in his mentoring of students, and the outpouring of love and gratitude in the days since his passing has been extraordinary.
Though he loved his friends and childhood memories, he often said the greatest joy of his too-short life was raising his children. He will be remembered for living with immeasurable gusto and joy, and touching so very many lives.
Mike is survived by his wife Nell, his daughter Bridget (26), and his son Emmett (23), along with all of his former students, his sister Mary M. O’Malley of Weymouth, his nephew Michael J. Bittner of Quincy, his sister Anne C. Godwin of Reading, his brother Patrick M. O’Malley of Norwood, and his many nieces, nephews, and cousins all over the United States, Ireland, and England.
A funeral mass will be held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Corvallis, OR on July 16 at 11 a.m. Viewing at 10 a.m.
The family has decided to establish a scholarship in Mike’s memory for OSU College of Education students. In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift to Mike’s scholarship fund. Gifts can be made to the OSU Foundation at osufoundation.org or mailed to OSU Foundation, 4238 SW Research Way, Corvallis, OR 97333. Please indicate that the gift is in memory of Mike O’Malley.