Obituary for Geraldine L. O’Brien

Geraldine Lorraine (Bernin) O’Brien, age 86, of Shakopee, MN.

Gerry “Geraldine Honey” (Bernin) O’Brien, mother of five strong women and long-time love and wife of James “Jimmy” O’Brien, danced her way into heaven as he sang the music of their courtship to her in his deep baritone.

She was a fashionable matriarch who enjoyed deep friendships with her Shakopee Sassy Lassies. She presided with pride over our Goddess Circles, which included shots of tequila from a coffee cup during her 80th birthday celebration just six short years ago.

She taught her 11 grandchildren how to follow their bliss and speak their truth, just as she did. She also encouraged her entire family to learn her famous Swedish meatballs recipe for Christmas dinners.

Born Jan. 20, 1935, in St. Paul to Adolph “Bebs” and Margaret “Marge” Bernin, Mom loved to spend time at the Sturgeon Lake cabin with her brother Robert and her cousins, aunts and uncles. She was a trailblazing stewardess on Northwest Airlines, and was working at Minnesota Mining when she went on a blind date with Dad. Friends said they probably wouldn’t get along with each other, but 64 years later their love is stronger than ever.

First to arrive was Lori, followed by Eve, Kathryn, Erin, and Margaret.

Mom devoted her life to others as a stay-at-home mom, but eventually worked at Dayton’s Fine Jewelry Department - a job she enjoyed so much she probably would have paid them to work there.

Her meals were memorable even if “Minnesota bland,” and her holiday parties with the 12 Days of Christmas were rollicking and raucous. Her favorite times, however, were playing the piano with the family surrounding her singing show tunes; playing a daily cribbage game with her husband; and attending services at St. John’s Lutheran Church.

She is survived by her husband, her daughters and her grandchildren, Margaret, Raina, Logan, Connor, Elise, Cory, Liam, Owen, Sheppard, Ilsa, and Malin; and sons-in-law, George Rooney, Gene Byron, Ian Benson, Jamie Denton, and Terry Jeffrey.

She was a force of nature and now is returning to nature. If you listen closely you can still hear her “ooh ooh” in the wind and see her smile in the sunshine. Rest easy Mom. We will pick up your mantle and carry on your spirit. She lives in all of us.

Private family services will be held.

Arrangements with McNearney-Schmidt Funeral and Cremation, Shakopee, 952-445-2755. Condolences may be shared at