Our Friend Michael O’Hasson

With a heavy heart, I hate to tell all my OPEA friends and colleagues that we have lost one of our great friends…Michael O’Hasson.  Michael left us on Christmas Day after a gallant two year plus battle against cancer.

It will not surprise any of us that knew Michael to believe he battled this disease with vigor and the same type of courage that he fought for state employee rights as a valued member of the OPEA staff and consultant for the past four decades.  In 1982, as the OPEA Executive Director, I hired Michael as our third member of the staff.  His duties were to run the office while I lobbied and organized statewide trying to convince state employees to join a labor organization.  Yes, a labor organization, even though at the time we never referred to ourselves that way.  We referred to OPEA as an association organized to fight for state employee benefits, job security, and pay.  Michael’s expertise was in computers. This was 1982 and OPEA’s membership files were contained in a yellow tub.  Dues were $2.50 per month and you had just gained the right to have those dues deducted from your paycheck after the legislature overrode a Governor’s veto.  Michael’s job was truly cut out for him to bring the membership database from a tub to a computer.  Somehow Michael conned me into allowing him to buy this monster printer and computer from Radio Shack.  Some of you may remember those old Tandy printers that you had to hand feed and the paper seemed like it was three feet wide!  Well, Michael knew what he was doing and soon OPEA was semi-computer literate.  Or at least one member of the staff was…Michael.  Michael soon became the Deputy Executive Director and stayed with OPEA until 1996!  Like me, he started on a new adventure which eventually led to the ownership of his own successful computer-related company.  In all my adventures since 1996, I stayed close to Michael and counted on his friendship, guidance, and skills to make me a better lobbyist and I hope a better person.  That you Michael O’Hasson for being a big part of my career and especially my life for the past 38 years!  There are only a few of us OPEA staff members still around from the 1980s but I cherish them as family, friends, and colleagues!

Old Irish Blessing  “May the road rise to meet you.  May the wind always be at your back.  May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields.  And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of his hand.” Rest my friend!


Pat Hall
Oklahoma Public Employees Association; Executive Director 1980-1996


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