Dave O’Hara Dies: Sports Writer Passes Away At 86

Dave O’Hara, a writer who covered Boston sports over a 50-year career with The Associated Press, has died. He was 86 years old.

O’Hara passed away on Wednesday at his home in Winter Haven, Florida, after a battle with cancer. His daughter, Debbie O’Hara-Rusckowski, confirmed his death.

Dave O’Hara began his career in sports writing in 1942. Aged just 15, he worked as a copy boy in the Boston bureau and rapidly gained a reputation as a quick, accurate reporter. Associated Press Sports Editor Terry Taylor said:

“Dave was a no-nonsense sports writer who brought gusto and grit to his work for half a century. He was every bit the epitome of Boston sports as Williams, Orr, Russell, Auerbach and Bird. He gave readers a front-row view of their heroes and heartbreaks, equally at home in the press box or the clubhouse.”

Tributes to O’Hara have poured in from the sporting world. Baseball Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski described the writer as “a real class act, a real pleasure to work with,” while former Red Sox pitcher Bob Stanley said:

“[Dave and I] were pretty close friends. When you went to the bar with him and talked about the game, our talk would stay in the bar. Just a super guy.”

O’Hara worked in Boston until April 1959, taking a break for Korean War service before being transferred to Milwaukee. There, he covered the Green Bay Packers and coach Vince Lombardi during their famous championship seasons of the early ’60s. He also wrote extensively about the Milwaukee Braves at a time when the legendary Hank Aaron was their star.

Dave O’Hara returned to Boston in July 1965 and remained there until his retirement in August 1992. His daughter recalls:

“He’d say, ‘I’m the luckiest man in the world. I had the greatest job. I have the greatest family,’ “