Kathleen J. O’Mara, 72, of Bradford, passed away on Thursday, November 19, 2020.
She was born on January 12, 1948 in Bradford, the daughter of the late James and Mary O’Mara.
She graduated from her hometown Bradford High School in 1965 and continued her education, receiving her bachelor's degree from Pennsylvania State University in music education. While at Penn State, she was a proud member of the Marching Blue Band and the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority. Ultimately, she went on to receive her master’s degree from the Peabody Conservatory of Music.
Growing up, Kathy worked for her family’s company, Sunnybrook Farms, and later became the President of Crosby Dairy Products, Inc.
Kathy was a member of St. Bernard of Clairvaux Catholic Church and had been a part of the worship ministry for years. She followed in the footsteps of her mother and began playing the organ for masses at St. Francis of Assisi when she was in 8th grade. Later on she played guitar and helped to lead folk groups at St. Francis and St. Bernard’s. Kathy became the Music Director and Organist for St. Bernard Parish in 1987 and it was a job she loved. She truly cherished her choir family.
Kathy enjoyed spending time with her friends, knitting, and playing slot machines at the casino. She was a member of the McKean County Democratic Party. She enjoyed riding horses and was a member of the Valley Hunt Club for many years and shared her love of horses with her daughter and granddaughter.
Kathy taught music for 41 years, most of them spent in the Salamanca Central School District at Jefferson Street Elementary, and then Salamanca Middle School and High School. For most of her career, she was the middle and high school vocal music teacher, and she was co-department head of the music department for several years. She sent many students to All-County Chorus and Solo-Fest, regional choral competitions. Her chorus concerts were filled with energy and truly captured her passion for teaching the love of music. She was blessed to have several students go on to make successful careers in music, including several who have performed on Broadway.
While at Salamanca, she formed a show choir, The Salamanca Singers, who performed around the community and even on television for the Variety Club Telethon in Buffalo, NY. She also started a barber shop and beauty shop quartet program for the school. She was an assistant director of the Salamanca Marching Band from 1974-1980 and again in 1987-1993. Her bands received many awards at parades and fairs around New York and Pennsylvania. She was the musical director for several middle school productions as well, including Annie Jr. and Guys and Dolls Jr.
In 1982, she started the music program for the Catholic School System, both St. Bernard Elementary School and Bradford Central Christian High School. She created a children’s choir, marching band, hosted the Junior High School Intermediate Unit 9 Band, and was the musical director of two musical productions, Barnum and The Music Man.
Kathy loved musical theater and served as the musical director for many productions. In 1983, Kathy was the musical director for Annie, presented by the Village Players in Salamanca. She was the musical director for Bradford’s Kiwanis Kapers for several years as well as several productions at the Ray Evans Seneca Theater in Salamanca. Kathy and her daughter Nicole directed The Music Man for Bradford Little Theatre, which her son James and granddaughter Bethany performed in.
She played clarinet and bass clarinet in the Citizen’s Band for many years. She even guest conducted the concert band on many occasions. Kathy was the 1994 recipient of the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford award recognizing influential people on the lives of graduating seniors.
Kathy is survived by her daughter, Nicole Bednez; son, James O’Mara; and her granddaughter, Bethany Bednez, who are all of Bradford, as well as several cousins.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her brother, James E. O’Mara.
Visitation will be held on Tuesday, November 24, 2020 from 4:00 to 7:00 PM at the Mascho Funeral Home, Inc. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Wednesday, November 25, 2020 at 11:00 AM in the St. Bernard Catholic Church with the Rev. Raymond Gramata, pastor, and the Rev. James Gutting, Senior Associate Pastor, as concelebrants. Friends are invited to watch a livestream of the Christian Wake service at 3:30 PM on Tuesday. The link for the livestream can be found on Kathy’s Tribute Wall page on the funeral home’s website.
Burial will be in St. Bernard Cemetery.
Memorial contributions in her memory can be made to the McKean County SPCA, P.O. Box 113, Bradford, PA 16701 or No Feline Left Behind, P.O. Box 783, Bradford, PA 16701.
The family has requested that all of those that are able to attend the visitation or the Funeral Mass to please follow the current health guidelines of mask wearing and social distancing.
Funeral arrangements are entrusted to the care of the Mascho Funeral Home, Inc.
January 12, 1948 - November 19, 202001/12/194811/19/2020
Kathleen J. O'Mara
1 Tree has been planted in memory of Kathleen O'Mara.