Rehoboth Mourns Michael O’Hern
Town officials are mourning the loss of Michael O’Hern, a former member of the Board of Selectmen and longtime building inspector. O’Hern, 82, passed away Tuesday. He is survived by his wife Pat and two sons, Michael and Sean. A native of Pawtucket, O’Hern was a Rhode Island National Guard Special Forces Veteran during the Vietnam War. O’Hern was also the owner and operator of O’Hern Construction Company and the Eastern Mass Concrete Corporation.
O’Hern moved to Rehoboth in 1966 where he became an avid farmer until his passing. O’Hern served as a selectman for two terms in the 1980s. He was first appointed as Building Inspector in 1980. In 2002, he served as the Building Inspector and Chief Zoning Officer.
He also served on the Town Building Study Committee, the Conservation Commission, the Communications Committee, the Local Emergency Planning Board, the Bylaw Study Committee, and the Animal Policy Advisory Committee, the Veterans Memorial Relocation Committee, the Police Facility Building Study Committee, and the Police Chief Search Committee. Last July, O’Hern was sworn in as a Constable for the sixth consecutive year. He had served in that role a total of 30 different times over four decades.
Selectmen Chairman Skip Vadnais, who served with O’Hern, called him “one of my most trusted confidantes” at Tuesday’s meeting.
Selectman Michael Costello remembered when the board was interviewing applicants for building inspector about 10 years ago. “I looked at those candidates to see if I saw any of (O’Hern) in those candidates,” Costello said. “Because anyone who knew Mike as a building inspector knew that he was the type of person who would help the resident. Even if they did something without a building permit, he would go and he would help them.”
“Even if I didn’t always agree with (O’Hern), I always found his opinions interesting and well thought out,” said selectman Jim Muri. “He was a good man.”
Selectman Gerry Schwall called O’Hern “a man of honor” and a “true patriot.”