Obituary for James W. O'Brien

James William O'Brien ("OB") was born on Feb. 18, 1934. He walked into the next world on February 23, 2023.

Jim grew up in Frogtown, the eldest of six children, to Mahlon and Helen O'Brien. He was a man of few words, which benefited him greatly as the father of five girls.

He grew up modestly, and lived a full, adventurous life. He attended Cretin High School and worked as a groundskeeper and caddy at a local golf course, learning the game and making many lifelong friends.

After high school he enrolled in the Army Security Agency during the Korean War and was stationed in Salzburg, Austria, as a cryptanalyst. That work transitioned to a post in Frankfurt, Germany, where his love affair with biking began as he toured the countryside.

A friend introduced him to Geraldine Bernin, a stewardess who recently had broken off her engagement. They married on June 15,1957, continuing his life of adventure while he attended the University of Minnesota, graduating with a degree in civil engineering. Eventually, he worked as a civil engineer.

He became a Father in 1958, with five daughters in the next 12 years: Lori Lynn (MQ), Eve Noelle (Evie Belle), Kathryn Jane (Ole' Buddy Joe), Erin Joyce (Butchie Baby), and Margaret Helen (Dooter). Assigning nick names to those he loved was a common thread throughout his life.

As part of his successful engineering career, he helped construct many Twin Cities landmarks, including the downtown Minneapolis Crystal Court and IDS Tower. During this time, he moved his family from Richfield to Shakopee, where he and Gerry resided until shortly before their deaths. He was renowned for starting a barbecue with a blow torch, fixing everything with duct tape, and singing musicals - especially "Camelot" while Gerry played piano. He enjoyed piloting small planes and earned an instrument rating. He also enjoyed cribbage, golf, planting and caring for his 300 apple trees.

Dad spent his last year of life at The Moments Memory Care in Lakeville. His family is eternally grateful for the kind and attentive care given to him.

Jimmy is survived by his five loving daughters; son-in-law, Ian Benson; and 11 grandchildren; his siblings, Colleen (Dan) Taft, Billy (Jane) O'Brien, and Danny (Barb) O'Brien; dozens of nieces and nephews; and good friends, Janice and Jim Nunn.

He was predeceased by his loving wife, Geraldine on Feb. 14, 2021; and his siblings, Joyce Cassellius and Donny O'Brien.

A Mass and celebration of Jimmy's life will be held on Friday, March 17, at 11 a.m., at St. Mary of the Purification Catholic Church, 15850 Marystown Rd, Shakopee.

Arrangements with McNearney-Schmidt

Funeral and Cremation, Shakopee, 952-445-2755.

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