In the winter of 1923, Walter Wilson arrived in Parsons, Kan., to take a position as machinist in the machine shop roundhouse of the Missouri-Kansas and Texas Railroad (The Katy). His daughter, Mary Jane, was among five of his children who traveled with the family by covered wagon from Broken Arrow, Okla., with hopes for a better life.
It was in Parsons that Mary Jane met Francis O'Hara who also was employed by the The Katy. Mary Jane and Francis married, and Mary Jane Wilson O'Hara gave birth to five children, two of whom would become the third generation of railroaders in her family -- both of her sons were employed by The Katy in the early 1970s. The eldest, F. Michael O'Hara (flannel mouth) was a brakeman and conductor, and Patrick B. O'Hara (decorated Vietnam war hero) was an engineer who retired in 2006, concluding a stellar career with the Union Pacific Railroad.
Patrick O'Hara met Carole Sims in 1967, they wed in 1968 and Carole O'Hara gave birth to three sons and one daughter. Her three sons are the fourth generation of railroaders, and are currently employed by the Union Pacific Railroad. David O'Hara is the Director of Road Operations for the Chicago Service Unit; Michael O'Hara is a Manager of Operating Practices for the Kansas subdivision; and John O'Hara is a conductor for the Kansas City Service Unit.
David O'Hara's son, Shaun O'Hara, is a carman for the Union Pacific Railroad Kansas City Service Unit - making him the fifth generation of railroaders to carry on this strong railroad family tradition.
by John P. O'Hara