Former Stepinac coach Joe O'Grady dies of Cancer at 38

Posted Wednesday, July 28, 2010 by lohud.com

Former Stepinac coach O'Grady dies of cancer at 38

By Josh Thomson • jthomson@lohud.com • July 28, 2010

Joe O'Grady, a former coach at Stepinac, died late Sunday night after a two-year battle with cancer. He was 38.

O'Grady coached junior-varsity baseball at the Catholic high school in White Plains until he was diagnosed with cancer in October 2008. His fight against the disease became a shared cause within the Stepinac community, which ran a blood drive in his honor last December and offered constant support to O'Grady's wife, Shannon, and three young children.

"The best way to put it is that this is an unbelievable loss for everybody: players, coaches, colleagues," said former Stepinac baseball coach Eric Lang, who now coaches women's hockey at Manhattanville College. "He was one of those rare guys who did everything for people and who was liked by everyone."

O'Grady and his wife shared a unique story. They were unable to conceive a child for several years and decided to adopt one from Haiti. Shannon went to Haiti and was so taken by the experience that she and Joe ended up adopting a girl, Idamene, and a boy, John Anthony.

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Shannon learned she was pregnant before their adopted children arrived in the U.S., in the spring of 2008.

Idamene, John Anthony and biological son Thomas were O'Grady's greatest joy during the last two years.

"He's been battling this for a really long time," said Keith Richardson, a Stepinac assistant baseball coach who played Little League for O'Grady in the Throgs Neck neighborhood where both lived. "I feel like those kids kept him fighting for this long. He was trying to keep that family together for as long as he could."

The O'Grady family will hold a wake from 2-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. today and Thursday at Schuyler Hill Funeral Home in the Bronx. A funeral Mass is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Friday at St. Martin of Tours, where O'Grady worked as a fifth-grade teacher in the parish school.

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