In Memoriam

A Mass of Christian Burial was said on Aug. 14 at St. Ignatius Church in Chestnut Hill for Patricia A. (Lyons) O’Kane ’78, former assistant director of the Boston College Pre-Medical Advising Office, who died on Aug. 10. She was 67.

Known as “Patty” to friends and co-workers, Mrs. O’Kane also served as graduate admissions coordinator for the Lynch School of Education, working at BC for 17 years until her retirement after the 2014-15 academic year.

Professor Emeritus of Biology Robert Wolfe, former director of the Pre-Medical Advising Office, praised Mrs. O’Kane.

“As an advisor, Patty had a knack of being honest, yet supportive, with students who needed to hear what to do to prepare effectively for their applications to graduate school health programs,” he wrote in an e-mail. “This is always a delicate task and she was indeed an expert at this. She helped many undergraduates and alumni ‘grow up’ and become effective decision-makers. Many of her former advisees are now practicing physicians and dentists, helping those in need. Thus, her efforts will clearly be felt for many years to come. She was a special woman who touched the lives of many BC students and alumni.”

Her ties with Boston College went beyond education and employment to include family life. She was the wife of Director of Employee Development Bernard O’Kane ’70, M.Ed.'72, M.A.'05, whom she met while attending BC, and their sons Conor, Greg, and Andrew all graduated from BC.

The O’Kanes were known for hosting popular BC football tailgate parties, which Conor O’Kane – speaking at the funeral – described as a “tour-de-force of hospitality” that typified his mother’s generosity of spirit.

“Her philosophy was ‘There’s always room at the table,’” he said, recounting the continual stream of friends, classmates, and other guests who enjoyed meals at the O’Kane home. “She believed that there’s the family you have, and the family that you find. She loved connecting good people with one another.

“It didn’t matter who you were; she made you feel comfortable, as if you were at home,” he added. “Because you were.”

Mrs. O’Kane was active in other facets of the BC community – especially while her sons were students – such as the University Chorale and several service immersion programs. In 2001, Mrs. O’Kane, along with her husband and two younger sons, journeyed to a remote village in Belize to visit Conor, who had joined the Jesuit Volunteers Corps after graduating from BC.

She also was recalled as a strong supporter of the arts and creativity in development and education. Conor O’Kane noted that his mother’s mantra was “Life is not a dress rehearsal.”

“It spoke to her energy, her thirst for life,” he said. “Every day was an opportunity to grow and learn.”

In his homily, Associate Vice President and Director of Campus Ministry Fr. Anthony Penna spoke about the importance of faith in Mrs. O’Kane’s life and works. He called her “an artisan of righteousness, a counselor, and a comforter.”

In addition to her husband and children, Mrs. O’Kane is survived by her mother, Dorothy Lyons, and sister Judith Lyons, as well as two grandchildren. She was predeceased by her father, George Lyons, and sisters Maureen Fredette and Linda Lyons-Nazarian.

Condolences may be sent to:

The O'Kane Family
185 Harvard Circle
Newtonville, MA 02460


Bernard O'Kane
Office of Employee Development
129 Lake Street

Donations in Mrs. O’Kane’s name may be made to The New England Foundation for the Arts.

–University Communications