Michael Thomas O’Kane

Michael Thomas O’Kane

July 21, 1960 – September 3, 2017

Michael Thomas O’Kane passed away peacefully on September 3, 2017 at Josie Harper Hospice House surrounded by family. He was preceded in death by his father, Patrick Joseph O’Kane. He is survived by his mother, Patricia (Brady) O’Kane; sisters: Mary O’Kane (Joseph Graif) of Minneapolis, Julie Ciaccio (Jim Warner) of Omaha, NE, Corinne O’Kane (Scott Fleischman) of Phoenix, AZ, and Ellen Rowe of Omaha; brothers, Daniel O’Kane of Minneapolis and Mark O’Kane (Joy) of Omaha, along with many nieces, nephews and friends.

Mike suffered a spinal cord injury when he was 17 years old and lived for 39 years as a quadriplegic.  Despite this tremendous handicap, he succeeded in graduating from Creighton Prep High School, and the University of Nebraska, Lincoln with a degree in mechanical engineering.  He worked at Creighton University, managing their heating and air conditioning systems, using a stick in his mouth to run the computers and driving his motorized wheelchair, manipulating a steering joystick with his chin.  He led a remarkably busy life despite his limitation.  He traveled to Singapore and Malaysia and made a few other trips.  He was an avid Cornhuskers fan as well as reader and movie aficionado.  He also painted, using his mouth to manipulate the brush.

VISITATION begins Thursday, September 7th at 6:30 pm at Holy Cross Catholic Church, 48th St. and Woolworth Ave., followed by a wake service at 7:30. MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL Friday, September 8th at 10:30 am at Holy Cross Catholic Church.  Private interment, Calvary Cemetery.  Memorials are suggested to Holy Cross Catholic Church, Creighton Preparatory High School, or Josie Harper Hospice House, all located in Omaha, NE.




  • Joe Krotter Posted September 5, 2017 8:54 am

    My condolences to all the O’Kane family. I lived across the hall from Mike in Selleck Quadrangle at UNL in 1985-87. I can honestly say he was truly one of the most remarkable people I’ve ever met in my life and his determination, fortitude, and attitude on life left an incredibly lasting impression on me. He will be one of those people you meet that you’ll never forget. How blessed I was to have him cross paths with me.
    Again, my sincerest sympathies and take comfort knowing he’s fully restored infirmity-free in glorified body in heaven.

  • Walter D James Iii Posted September 5, 2017 8:20 pm

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. WDJiii

  • Greg and Ellen Jackson Posted September 5, 2017 8:35 pm

    What a talented and remarkable man Michael was! We are so sorry for your loss, and wish you all loving memories to heal you!

  • Bob Reynolds Posted September 6, 2017 1:54 am

    Prayers to the family of Mike. Every childhood memory of mine includes Mike. From sports , riding bikes, throwing snowballs, and telling stories to playing pranks and being altar boys I see Mike in my minds eye and it makes me smile. Now I see him riding a bike and climbing a hill in heaven. Looking forward to seeing you again Mike.

  • Pat (Krolikowski) Ford Posted September 6, 2017 8:02 am

    My sympathy to Mike’s family. I was a nurse in the ICU at St. Joseph Hospital and cared for Mike during his stay there and his air transport to rehab in Rochester. I thought of him often through the years and corresponded with him several years ago after reading an article about Medicaid that included him. I did not know of his success until our correspondence but I was not surprised because his motivation, faith, and family support was so strong. I know that he is in the loving arms of Our Lord now. May God bless all of you.

  • Jeff Kelly Posted September 8, 2017 10:46 am

    Thoughts and prayers go out to the O’kane family. Mike was truly a special person.

  • Lowell Fideler Posted September 8, 2017 8:51 pm

    Mike was a classmate of mine at Holy Cross in the 1960s/70s. I sometimes walked home down Pine street with him and several other classmates. I remember their house on the corner and saying goodbye to him when we passed and he went inside. Many memories of the neighborhood, those times and especially those people. I last saw Mike in 1980 at friends wedding. He remembered me and we had a good talk. So sorry to learn of Mike’s passing. May he rest in peace – my condolences to the entire O’Kane family

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