Eugene L. ("Obie") O'Brien (1925 - 2016)

Obituary
  • "Your countrymen thank you for your dedicated service. Rest..."
    - L Groh
  • "An honor to have known this fine gentle giant. Giant in so..."
    - Kaufman
  • "Many memories in a 180 with "OB" while I was in Bethel. A..."
  • "I was so lucky to have known him and to work for him while..."
    - George Cole
  • "I first met OB when he was aTP Officer and I was a Deputy..."
    - Pat Wellington

After a short illness, in Centralia, Wash., at the age of 91. "A little farther down the road and further up the creek." A logger, a carpenter, a police officer and state trooper, an Alaska pioneer and bush pilot, a hunter, a skipper, a fisherman, guitarist and harmonica player, a teller of tall tales and a man's man, Obie was born in Chehalis, Wash., on June 24, 1925, and raised in South Bend and Randle, Wash. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Dorothy "Dot" Anne (Buher), in 2000, after nearly 54 years of marriage; by his son, Dale, in 2008; by his brother, Tilton, in 2015; by his mother, Martha (Lester), in 1987; and his father, John Henry, in 1942. Survived by two of his three sons, Dennis, of Winlock, Wash., and Dan, of St. Louis, Mo.; by five of his six grandchildren; by 14 great grandchildren; by many cousins near Randle and Alexandria, Minn.; and by many in-laws and friends. Obie had served in the Navy during World War II, in both the Atlantic and Pacific theatres. He was a landing craft coxswain and participated in the invasion of Iwo Jima. In the South Pacific, his service included time on Espiritu Santo, the largest island of Vanuatu, and the setting for James Michener's Tales of the South Pacific, on which the musical South Pacific was based. Obie married Dorothy Buher on Nov. 8, 1946, served a few years as a logger in the Randle area, and then as an Officer in the Bremerton Police Department. He moved his family to Anchorage, Alaska, in the summer of 1955, where he had enlisted in the Alaska Territorial Police, served as the first bush pilot for the Alaska State Troopers and retired from the Troopers as a Lieutenant in 1975. Obie and Dot raised their sons on moose meat, deer, salmon, halibut, shrimp and crab, teaching them all how to hunt and fish and survive in the wild. In their retirement, Obie and Dot ran a motor yacht charter business out of Ketchikan, Alaska, for 10 years, settling after that in Winlock, Wash., where they spent the rest of their lives. Obie lived independently in their Winlock home right up until the time of his death, after a very brief stay in a nursing facility. The family is planning a private graveside service and a celebration of life later in the year. Memorials can be made online to the Alaska Peace Officers Association, at www.apoaonline.org.
Published in Anchorage Daily News on Oct. 6, 2016
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