Mary O’Rourke, a well-respected apparel and textile industry consultant, died in her home in Ventnor, N.J., on Monday. She was 62.
The cause of death was cancer, according to information supplied by the family to the George H. Wimberg Funeral Home in Ventnor.
O’Rourke was born on June 29, 1953, in Philadelphia. She attended Cardinal Dougherty High School and Pennsylvania State University.
She began her career at the retail end of the textile and apparel supply chain as a fabric buyer at Sears Roebuck. In 1978, she joined Werner Associates, a leading apparel and textile consulting group, where she led a marketing and strategy practice as executive vice president.
In 1999, O’Rourke joined consultant Andrew Jassin and Mahoney, Cohen & Co., an accounting and financial advisory firm, to form Jassin-O’Rourke, a global strategic consultant specializing in the textile, fiber and apparel sector.
She was later to break out on her own and created O’Rourke Group Partners and as president and managing director, serving 650 clients in 48 countries.
Speaking on a panel at the Techtextil show in 2012, O’Rourke foresaw the resurgence for Made in America. She said sustainability, as well as social and regulatory compliance, was another strength for the Americas region over Asia.
“This is the most environmentally friendly industry and the Asian mills can’t hold a candle to them,” she said at the time. “It’s one of the reasons brand owners are reevaluating this hemisphere. They don’t want to do business with companies that aren’t environmentally safe.”
O’Rourke considered Ireland her home away from home, traveling there often and was well-versed in Irish music, customs and history. She volunteered with several organizations throughout her life, including the New York Fire Department, the Fashion Institute of Technology, Spirit-Eagles Field Hockey Club and the United States Field Hockey Association.
O’Rourke is survived by her husband, Stephen Miller; a daughter, Maureen Leming; a stepdaughter, Lauren Carney; a stepson, Stephen Miller, Jr.; a grandson, Jude Leming, and siblings William, Robert and Patricia O’Rourke, Dolores DelliColli and Margaret Blouin.
An Episcopal Mass for O’Rourke will be held Saturday and 11 a.m. at Holy Trinity Church, 2998 Bay Ave., Ocean City, N.J. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital, 3535 Market Street, Suite 750, Philadelphia, Pa. 19104.