Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Austin Thomas O’Grady, 82

Wellsville, NY – Austin Thomas O’Grady, 82, passed away on Monday, May 30, 2022 at the Hart Comfort House surrounded by his loving family. Tom, as he was known to his friends and family, was born August 11, 1939, in St. Louis, Missouri to Austin C. and Doris (Prentice) O’Grady. On December 28, 1963 he married Roseanna Collins who survives. 

Tom was raised in Cuba, NY where he enjoyed scouting as a boy and earned the rank of Eagle Scout. He attended Cuba Central School where he became interested in art and began honing his lifelong passion of painting. Upon graduation from Cuba Central School, Tom enrolled in Buffalo State College majoring in Art Education where he graduated in 1961. Upon graduation from Buffalo State, he began his career in teaching with Allegany County BOCES teaching art in grades K-6 at Rushford Central School and grades 7-12 at Scio Central School. In 1962 he joined the Scio faculty full-time to establish a grade 7-12 art program. He earned his Master of Science degree in 1967 from Alfred University. Tom taught art at Scio for 34 years and grew the program to include photography, mechanical and architectural drafting, in addition to art. He was the founding chair of the art department at Scio and served in that role until 1995 when he was named K-12 principal; a role he held until he retired in 2000 after nearly 40 years of service.

As many people in the local community know, in addition to being an educator, Tom was also an accomplished artist specializing in watercolor as his preferred medium. He received many awards and recognitions for his paintings both nationally and internationally. His work has been on exhibit in the New York State Governor’s mansion, the Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. the United States Embassies in Rome, Italy and Canberra, Australia. He has also exhibited his work in galleries across the country to include the J. Barret Galleries in Toledo, Ohio, the Albright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo, NY, and the MGM Grand Gallery in Las Vegas, Nevada. In 1975, he was commissioned by Allegany County to design and sculpt the Allegany County Bicentennial Medallion, of which two thousand limited addition medallions were minted. Over the years his artwork has been admired by many and he amassed quite a following with many private collectors including former President, Jimmy Carter.

Tom was also an avid member of the community participating in many activities and contributing in any way he could. He was the charter president of the Wellsville Art Association, a charter member of the Allegany County Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH), Sons of the American Legion, a charter member of the Genesee Valley Chorus, and a charter member of the Great Wellsville Balloon Rally Committee where he was a fixture, and served as chair in 1989. For 25 years his famous balloon poster paintings highlighted the Wellsville area landscape. He was also an active member of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Wellsville and served on the parish council and on the board of trustees of the Immaculate Conception regional school of Allegany County. His philanthropy included the donation of countless works of art over the years to benefit local charities and non-profit organizations.

In addition to his wife, Roseanna, he is survived by; three sons, Sean (Cyndi) of Edgewater, Florida, Brendan (Julie) of Overland Park, Kansas, and Timothy (Barbie) of Wellsville; eight grandchildren, Gabrielle (Travis) Mountain, Ryan O’Grady, Colleen (Cody) Girvan, Austin O’Grady, Mary Grace O’Grady, Kathleen O’Grady, Keegan O’Grady, and Kavan O’Grady; three great grandchildren; and his sister, Ann (O’Grady) Kubiniec of Cazenovia, New York, as well as numerous nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by three brothers in law; Dr. Conrad Kubiniec, Dr. Byron Collins, and Leon (Patsy) Collins and a sister in law Marlene Collins.

Friends and Family are invited to call on Monday, June 6, 2022 from 2-4 and 7-9 PM at the J.W. Embser Sons Funeral Home, 34 West State Street, Wellsville. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, June 7, 2022 at 11 AM in the Immaculate Conception Church, 6 Maple Avenue, Wellsville. Burial will be in St. Bonaventure Cemetery in Allegany, NY. Please consider memorial donations to: The Hart Comfort House, 141 E. State Street, Wellsville, NY 14895; Jones Memorial Hospital, 191 N. Main Street, Wellsville, NY 14895; Immaculate Conception Church, 6 Maple Avenue, Wellsville, NY 14895; or to the SPCA Serving Allegany County, 5440 NY-19, Belmont, NY 14813. To leave online condolences, please visit www.embserfuneralhome.com.


  1. As one of his students at scio Tom was a huge inspiration to my own art . RIP mr o'Grady. Thank you Jack brown

  2. Tammy Rahr TallchiefJune 1, 2022 at 4:27 PM

    Who in their lifetime hasn't planted a Peach Pit
    Just hoping that somehow a seedling would grow
    And then they move on to some other adventure
    And if it comes up-well, they don't even know
    That's one way of picturing your style of living
    You've planted ideas and dreams unaware
    You've noticed somebody whose heart needs attention,
    and planted a positive feeling in there
    It's part of your nature
    You may not remember the kind and encouraging
    things you've done
    But everywhere, 'Peach Pits' are growing like crazy
    And people are blooming
    I know because I am one! Rest In Peace Mr. O’Grady

  3. Tom was a Wellsville treasure. Anyone that has an original or copy of one of his paintings has a valuable keep sake.

  4. Mr O saved my life! He saw something in me and brought the artist out from the clutches of evil things, he saw something that no one else saw. God Bless you Mr. O! And may you rest in peace!
    Tom Giddings

  5. Tom was a special friend for 50+ years and a fantastic artist who could put feelings into his art even if it was a wildlife picture. I also believe that he was an honest and godly man. May you rest in peace!

    Ken Van Dine

  6. Tom was one of my favorite teachers. I'm blessed to have learned from the best. Our
    condolences to the O'Grady family. Ken and Marianne Harris

  7. Tom was a great person whose smile made you smile. A kind man who influenced many for the good. May God smile on your work with you in heaven - David

  8. Tom was a wonderful man !
    I had the wonderful pleasure
    To meet him years ago !
    He took time with me discussing
    My middle son & his art talent
    Something I will never forget !
    He was truly amazing man
    He will be missed by many
    Will be keeping your family
    In my prayers