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Enjoy your retirement, Owen O’Rourke!

Owen O'Rourke is retiring from the Daily Item after being a staff photographer for more than 21 years. (Spenser R. Hasak)

LYNN — Owen O’Rourke, known for his career as a photographer, is the best storyteller I know. After 21 years at the Item, he told his last story on Thursday.

“Time flies and the next thing you know you’re 66 years old and wondering how that happened,” he said.

He spent more than four decades as a newspaper photographer, with two of them here at the Item. Raised in Woburn, he said he didn’t know his way around Lynn when he first got the job. He recalled the days where there were no GPS systems, and he was tasked with trying to find a fire using only a map and common sense.

“I didn’t know my way from here (downtown Lynn) to the YMCA,” he said.

Owen is the kind of coworker who is always a pleasure to work with, thanks to his talent and, most importantly, his sense of humor. While he and I have been on dozens of assignments together, my favorite was when one of my interviewees shamelessly flirted with him for a solid hour and a half.

I remember he let out a good laugh, went along with it, and subtly brought up the mention of his wife, the love of his life with whom he shares a daughter. I am going to miss his willingness to go along with any joke.

He said he is looking forward to continuing his passion of being a toastmaster and writing humorous essays, which he hopes to get published someday. While the “Big O,” as I like to call him, prepares for the next chapter of his life, we have some very large shoes to fill here at the Item.

“The business has changed and so have I,” he said. “It’s a good time for this and I’m still in good health. What’s the worst that could happen?”

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