Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Obit for Patrick F. O'Brien (1913-2010)



Patrick F. O’Brien passed away at his home in Santa Clara , CA on June 10, 2010 with his daughter and long-time caregiver, Peg O’Brien, by his side. Above all, Pat was a wonderful father and loving family man, and he enjoyed the love and support of his children and grandchildren throughout his long and fulfilling life.

Born on March 1, 1913 in Detroit , Michigan , Pat was 97 when he died. His early years were spent in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario , Canada where he developed his passion for everything outdoors: skating, skiing, swimming, fishing and hunting. In later years, this passion led him to gardening, boating, water skiing, and lengthy road trips with family through the natural wonders of this country and Canada .

Returning to Detroit for his senior year of high school, Pat was proud to be in the first graduating class of Detroit Catholic Central High School in 1929. At age 16, he and his sister Lucile became the primary breadwinners for their family and continued to do so through the Depression years. This did not deter him from attending college and graduating from Assumption University in Windsor , Ontario .

Pat met the love of his life, Mary Jane Kent , in the late 30’s and they were married in 1941. Pat and Mary Jane were most lovingly married for 58 years until her death in 1999. They were the proud parents of seven children and nine grandchildren.

In the 1940’s, Pat went to work for General Motors for whom he remained employed the rest of his career. The family moved to California in 1963 when Pat was assigned to be a member of the management team that opened GM’s Buick-Olds-Pontiac Assembly Division plant in Fremont .

Pat always put his family first and this commitment was very clear to all of its members. It gave his children great confidence to know that they could always count on his support. He could be stubborn at times but he encouraged independence of thought and decision making. He was a very spiritual man who consistently role modeled the values of honesty, integrity, responsibility, compassion, and consideration for others.

Highly intelligent with a great sense of humor, he loved to debate politics and everything else. He didn’t mind which side he took, he just loved to have a good argument for the fun of it. He also derived tremendous pleasure out of the occasional mischievous practical joke, usually on one of the kids. He could fix anything and was fondly known as “Mr. Fix-It”. As his mobility declined, he became a voracious reader who was conversant on any topic from investing to sports. He stayed up on the latest technologies and always had a huge pile of books and crosswords by his chair.

Pat loved life all of his days and didn’t leave it without a courageous struggle. There has never been a more enthusiastic fan of See’s chocolates and it was only fitting that his last meal, like on every other day of his life, was ice cream. He will be dearly missed.

Pat is survived by his children Mary Pat (O’Brien) Dubeck, and Paul, Kathleen, Tom, Phil, Ellen and Peg O’Brien, and his grandchildren Michael, John, Peg, and Danny Dubeck, Matt, Laura, Thomas, Sean and Katherine O’Brien, and five great grandchildren.

Funeral services to be held on Saturday, June 19, 1030am, at St. Justin’s Church, 2655 Homestead Blvd., Santa Clara (www.st-justin.org). Reception/wake to follow at the family home.

- Obit by Paul O'Brien

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Keep it clean for gene.