Member Biography

Michael A. O'Pake 


02/02/1940 - 12/27/2010

Michael A. O’Pake (D11) Berks (Part) County 1973-1982 (D11) Berks (Part) and Montgomery (Part) Counties 1983-1992 (D11) Berks (Part) County 1993-2010          

Early Life:

Michael A. O’Pake, born February 2, 1940, in Reading, son Michael E. and Anna M. O’Pake; valedictorian, Reading Central Catholic High School, 1957; Saint Joseph’s University, summa cum laude, A.B., 1961; University of Pennsylvania Law School, J.D., 1964; Albright College, Honorary. LL.D.; Kutztown University, Honorary Doctor of Public Service; attorney; law clerk, Honorable Robert Lee Jacobs, Pennsylvania Superior Court, 1965-1967; elected, Democrat, Pennsylvania State House of Representatives, 1969-1972, not a candidate for reelection, 1972; elected, Pennsylvania State Senate, 1973-2010; died, December 27, 2010, while in office of the Senate, Reading Hospital and Medical Center, West Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania; interment, Gethsemane Cemetery, Laureldale, Berks County, Pennsylvania.


Pennsylvania Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Leadership Award-2007; Department of Agriculture Investing in Our Future-2006-2007; Alzheimer’s Association Legislature Advocacy-2005; Ben Franklin Medal for Distinguished Achievement on Behalf of Higher Education-2005; Berks County Public Library Elected Official of the Year- 2004; YMCA of Reading and Berks County Champion of Youth-2004; Kutztown University Legislative Fellow-2000; Alvernia College Franciscan-1999; Papal Messenger of Truth and Hope-1998; Saint Joseph’s University Law Alumni Distinguished Law Alumnus-1998; Governor’s Highway Safety-1996; Domestic Abuse Council of Barks County Recognition Award-1994; National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) Guardian of Small Business Award-1994; Olivet Champion of Youth-1993.

Pennsylvania Politics:

Elected, Democrat, Pennsylvania State House of Representatives, 1968-1972, not a candidate for reelection, 1972. 

Elected, Democrat, Pennsylvania State Senate, 11th district, Berks (Part) County, 1973-1982, Democrat, Pennsylvania State Senate, 11th district, Berks (Part) and Montgomery (Part) Counties, 1983-1992, Democrat, Pennsylvania State Senate, 11th district, Berks (Part) County, 1993-2010; Minority Caucus Secretary, 1989-1992, Majority Caucus Chairman, 1992-1994, Minority Caucus Chairman, 1995-2000; Minority Whip, 2000-2010; appointed, Pennsylvania Commission on Interstate Cooperation, 1977-1980) appointed, Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, 1981-2010; appointed, Legislative Budget and Finance Committee, 1983-1988; appointed, Pennsylvania Heritage Affairs Commission, 1989-1992; appointed, Joint State Government Commission, 1995-2010; appointed, board, Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, (PHEAA), 1995-2008; appointed, Capitol Preservation Committee, 2009-2010; appointed, board, Legislative Date Processing Center, 2009-2010; appointed, Agricultural Land Preservation Board; committee assignments, Agriculture and Rural Affairs (Minority Chairman, 2001-2010), Aging and Youth, Rules and Executive Nominations; died while in office of Senate, December 27, 2010.

Pennsylvania State House of Representatives Biography:

Official Website - PA House Archives Official Website (


While at Reading Central Catholic High School, won the national Optimist International oratory contest, 1956.


Cox, Harold. "Senate Members O"Wilkes University Election Statistics Project. Wilkes University.

The Pennsylvania Manual, (2009-2010). Trostle, S., (Editor). (Volume 119). Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; pages 3-33, 3-40. Biographies of Members of the Senate, page 3-20.

Sen. Michael A. O'Pake (1940-2010) - Find a Grave Memorial