Dennis O'Brien, for 21 years the J.C. Penney store manager in Harlingen, Texas (first at Sun Valley Mall and later at Valle Vista Mall) has died at the age of 77.
Mr. O'Brien was an avid golfer and longtime member of the Harlingen Country Club, having served as club President in 1986. An active parishioner at Saint Anthony's Catholic Church, Mr. O'Brien served on various boards and councils there, and served as a Eucharistic Minister for many years. He was also a longstanding member and Paul Harris Fellow of the Harlingen Rotary Club, serving as Club President (1984-85), board member of the Rotary Endowment Fund (1993-98), and President of the Endowment Fund (1993-95), all during a 29-year tenure of perfect attendance. He was a member of the Harlingen Chamber of Commerce, serving one year as Treasurer and another as the Co-Chair of the Harlingen-San Benito United Way Campaign, and he spent a number of years serving on the Palm Valley Utility Board.
The son of Neal and Bernice O'Brien, Mr. O'Brien was born on September 2, 1935 in Elk City, Oklahoma. He graduated from St. Joseph Catholic School in Elk City in June 1954, and promptly went to work for the J.C. Penney company, a job and career that lasted the next 41 years (interrupted only briefly by military service in 1958 and 1960, the latter as the result of the Berlin Crisis). He married Vida Joy Poff in 1958, and they had two sons, Michael and Stephen.
At J.C. Penney, Mr. O'Brien worked at various stores in Oklahoma and Texas before being promoted in 1967 to Store Manager in Seguin, Texas. Under his management, the Seguin store was recognized with the company's top award in 1972, the President's Cup Grand Award. This performance led to Mr. O'Brien's 1974 promotion and transfer to Harlingen, where he managed the J.C. Penney store at Sun Valley Mall until it closed in 1985, with the opening of the Valle Vista Mall store. At the Valle Vista J. C. Penney store, Mr. O'Brien was twice recognized with the company's then-top honor, the Chairman's Award for Excellence. He retired in 1995 to play golf, travel, and enjoy time with his wife of 54 years, his family and friends.
Mr. O'Brien was preceded in death by his mother, father, brothers Gene and John, and his son Michael.
He is survived by his wife Vida, his son Stephen, daughter-in-law Tracey, two grandsons, Nicholas and Matthew, and his sister Ann.
Visitation will be held from 1:00 PM to 9:00 PM, with the family receiving friends from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM, Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at the funeral home.
Funeral Mass will be held at 11:00 AM, Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at St. Anthony's Catholic Church in Harlingen. Burial will follow a Restlawn Memorial Park.
Honorary pallbearers will be John Cutney, Garnet Causey, Hal Pearson, Miguel Llana Larry Feegit, Robert Culbartson, Ernie Gonzales and Tito Guerrero.
In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes donations to the Columban Fathers (Missionary Society of Saint Columban, P.O. Box 10, St. Columbans, NE 68056) or to
The family is deeply grateful to Dr. John Ferris and his entire staff (including Maggie and Lupita) for their tremendous support and care for the past months (and many, many years preceding). Likewise, we sincerely thank Dora, Lindsey, Mae, and the entire staff at United Home Health, who provided exceptional services and support. Odyssey Hospice then stepped in to provide care when we needed it the most. We are also grateful for the skills of Dr. Eric Six and the great care provided by so many at Valley Baptist. And throughout much of the last few months, Joann Folsom and Harlingen Companion Sitter Service, LLC provided superb assistance that made the nights, and days, much easier.
The family invites you to sign the guestbook or leave a memory at:
Arrangements are with Buck Ashcraft Funeral Home.
Sign the guestbook at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/valleystar/
Published in Valley Morning Star on Mar. 5, 2013