April Gaye O’Hara, 60, of Port Charlotte, Florida died at home on December 27, 2019.
Born on April 24, 1959 in Baltimore, Maryland, to James L. & Joyce Ann (Taylor) O’Hara, she was one of six children. She was born prematurely and she was deprived of oxygen during birth resulting in profound retardation. She was also diagnosed with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, which is a rare and severe kind of epilepsy leading to multiple types of seizures daily throughout her life. As an infant she was not expected to live, however she outlived five of her doctors. When she was six years old, her neurologist at John Hopkins wanted her to participate in a new ketogenic (starvation) diet that would suspend her brain’s activity and allow the seizures to slow down enough so she could learn to walk, feed herself, and perform basic life skills. In the late 1960s, she was an athlete in the Special Olympics, earning gold medals in the 50 and 100 yard dash. April loved to run and feel the wind blow through her hair. She loved the sound of cards shuffling and would spend the day shuffling cards in her basket to pass the time. Her passions included McDonald’s french fries, Cheez-Its, cake, Coca-Cola, eggs, rugby, and soccer.
April was preceded in death by her mother and father, step-father Michael Misener, and her brother Kelly. Survivors include her siblings, Thomas (Valerie) O’Hara of St. Cloud, Florida, Patrick (Sandra) O’Hara of Rochester, New York, Joyce (Michael) Barrett of Port Charlotte, Florida, and Brandon O’Hara of Austin, Texas. She is also survived by her step-brother Michael (Heather) Misener Jr. of Tivoli, Texas and step-sister Terri Sheaffer of Glen Burnie, Maryland. April also leaves behind numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and extended family members.
April was a loving gift from God who brought peace and joy to everyone she met. She was a blessing to all, and will be missed dearly.
A Memorial Mass celebrating April’s life will be held Saturday 11:00 AM, January 4, 2020 at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church 21505 Augusta Ave., Port Charlotte, FL 33952.
Memorial contributions in lieu of flowers Special Olympics Florida-Charlotte County, 4456 Tamiami Trail, Suite A-8, Port Charlotte, FL 33980.
Friends may visit online at www.robersonfh.com to extend condolences to the family. Arrangements by Roberson Funeral Home & Crematory Port Charlotte Chapel.