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November 27, 2022
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Lover of earth, wood, water and fire, Keith left us after a brief illness on November 27, 2022. Born to Evelyn and Frank O’Rourke, he was the second of four sons. He and his wife Marlene shared their life together for 39 years.
Keith worked in landscaping throughout his undergraduate years at the University of Toronto, then at Moore Business Forms, and in the western and northern provinces and territories in the field of compressed air before returning to UofT to complete an MBA and undertake an MSc. For many years he worked as a biostatistician at the Toronto General Hospital and the Ottawa Hospital on numerous studies in the fields of cancer, diabetes, SARS and infectious diseases research before completing a PhD at Oxford University in 2004. Having worked at Oxford, Duke University, McGill and Queen’s, he joined Health Canada in the late 2000’s as a biostatistician, initially in health care and then in pesticide management. A conscientious intellectual and deep-thinker, Keith endeavoured to make our world a better and safer place.
Known to enjoy the occasional three fingers of Glenfiddich or an IPA, Keith pondered the mysteries of health and safety while taking long walks in nature, nurturing many maple, birch and oak saplings, cutting up fallen trees at our cottage in the Lanark Highlands, building bonfires and stoking every wood stove he had access to. As a black belt in Kung Fu and a former assistant coach in boxing at Oxford, until Covid ended access he was known to jump in the ring and spar with up-and-coming kick-boxers well into his mid-sixties.
Dedicated father to Sarah (Myles), Evelyn (Dylan) and Ryan (Tiffany) and grandfather to Gabriella and Owen, he was a kind and gentle soul, always putting everyone else first in his life. Survived by his brothers Tom (Marliss), Barry (Dianne) and Glenn, father-in-law Herbert (Betty, deceased), sisters-in law Sharon (Pat), Lila (John), brothers-in law Herbert and Ray, nephews Daniel (Nicole), Cameron, Frank (Melissa), Christopher, Ajay (Zaira) Mickey (Denise), Spencer and Emmett, nieces Shauna Cate (Logan), Sayward (Doug), Angela (Clayton), and Elizabeth (Christopher), great-nephews Alex, Liam and James and great-niece Darcina, as well as many cousins, aunts uncles and friends,
Alan R. Barker Funeral Home & Chapel, 19 McArthur Avenue, Carleton Place ON K7C 2W1 613-257-3113, will hold a public visitation on Friday, December 02, 2022, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., followed by a celebration of life in the chapel to commence at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 03, 2022.
THE SERVICE WILL BE LIVESTREAMED ON YOUTUBE STARTING AT 12:55, GO TO YOUTUBE AND SEARCH "barkerfh Keith O`Rourke"
His ashes will later be scattered in the Lanark Highlands and a tree will be planted in his memory. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the mental health research charity of your choice.