John Richard (Dick) O'KaneWest Fork, AR, 1936 - 2019
"The pen is mightier than the sword. Except in a sword fight." - Dick O'Kane
John Richard (Dick) O'Kane, 82, passed away peacefully in Fayetteville, Ark., July 11, 2019. Dick was born in Little Rock, Ark., to John R. O'Kane, Sr. and Katherine Few O'Kane. He was raised in East Arkansas and Providence, R.I.
In the 1960's Dick was an award-winning TV and print copywriter in Philadelphia and New York, and wrote a breakout 1968 best-seller, "How to Repair Your Foreign Car: a guide for the Beginner, your Wife, and the Mechanically Inept." - an irreverently funny, yet informative genre-breaking repair manual for British sports cars. He followed with, "The Making of an Aircraft Mechanic" (1970), "Repairing the Inscrutable Toyota" (1974), "Most Miles Per Gallon" (1975), and "Simple auto Repair" (1976).
Dick was brilliantly funny, and a natural storyteller. Quotes from his first book include..."If you own or drive a foreign car you need this book. In fact you need two copies - one to read by the fireside, the other to amuse you by the roadside." Also a chapter heading: "Why, When Britannia Rules the Waves, Will Her Cars Not Go Through a Puddle?"
He also wrote numerous comedic short stories for national magazines, Road & Track, and Automobile Quarterly, chronicling his wild travel adventures across Europe and North Africa, with his wife, graphic designer Jennifer (Jeffi) O'Kane. The couple's progress, camping in a 1962 VW bus, was a favorite of his readership, because it gave a sense of romance, freedom and the absurdity of rambling through ancient lands as seen through Dick's satirical gaze.
Tired of traveling, Dick and Jeffi settled in NW Arkansas in 1973, creating O'Kane Studios, which produced extraordinarily beautiful custom stained glass installations for homes and businesses. As a visual artist, Dick always sought new possibilities, and invented unique optical lens mosaics combined with stained glass, watch crystals, bevels, jewels, etc. - anything glass - creating three-dimentionality and movement in his works, a startling beautiful innovation. He also invented soldering techniques which have since been adopted by stained glass artists today.
Dick O'Kane was a man of wisdom, and great kindness. He faithfully practiced meditation for 47 years. He was an iconoclast, living life as he saw fit, not as others would have him live. He is survived by his wife, Jennifer, his sons Charles and Benjamin, five grandchildren, his beautiful stained glass works, and many wonderful stories.
Cremation arrangements by Beard's Funeral Chapel. Condolences at www.beardsfuneralchapel.com
Published July 20, 2019
OBITUARY SUBMITTED BY:
Beards Funeral Chapel
855 S. Happy Hollow Road, Fayetteville, AR