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Joseph Martin O'Brien

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Joseph Martin O'Brien 1917-2011 NORTHFIELD, VT The family of Joseph Martin O'Brien sadly announces the quiet passing of their father, brother, grandfather, great-grandfather and uncle on September 30, 2011. He was surrounded by his family and supported in his end-of-life journey by the wonderful, loving and caring staff members of Mayo Healthcare in Northfield. Joe was born on May 10, 1917 in Boston, Mass., to Nora Ann Duffy (Co. Galway, Ire.) and Patrick Francis O'Brien (Belfast, Northern, Ire.) He was raised in Mattapan, Mass., and was the oldest of eight children. Joe met the love of his life, Trudy (Gertrude) C. DeLary, RN of Northfield, Vt., in 1945 and they married on February 18, 1946 at Mission Church in Roxbury, Mass. All four of their children were born in Northfield, Vt., at the former Mayo Hospital. Surviving family members and their spouses are: Joseph P. O'Brien and Louise Picard O'Brien of Underhill, Vt.,; David M. O'Brien and Gail Luther O'Brien of Shaftsbury, Vt.,; Mary O'Brien Heins and David J. Heins of Starksboro, Vt.,; and Kathleen O'Brien Ruggeri and Frank J. Ruggeri of Billerica, Mass.; his youngest sister, Patricia O'Brien Carey of Weymouth, Mass.; his brother-in-law Clovis E. DeLary and wife Phyliss of Northfield, Vt. Grand children include Colleen A. O'Brien and husband Mickey Cruz , Cary P. O'Brien, Megan M. O'Brien, Justin D. O'Brien and wife Julie, Ian D. Heins, Erin O'Brien Wilson and husband Adam, Seth M. Heins and wife Alex Martel, Nicole M. Ruggeri, and Matthew J. Ruggeri. Joe celebrated the births of four great-grand children-Luca Hiens, Lola O'Brien Cruz, Keva O'Brien Wilson and Addison O'Brien. Numerous nieces and nephews will all miss their "Uncle Joe". He was predeceased by his wife and life partner, Trudy, in 2006; his siblings Francis, James, Daniel, Bernard, Mary, and Anna O'Brien McKeough all from the Boston area. He attended Boston public elementary schools until fourth grade, entered Miramar middle grades and St. Francis Seminary both in Kingston, Mass. His college career began at the Society for the Devine Word Seminary in East Troy, WI. He transferred to St. Michael's College in Colchester, Vt., where he graduated with a BA in English. He acquired his Masters of Education at the University of Vermont in 1955. He also continued his professional development at Harvard, Yale and U Conn. Joe entered his education career in 1945 as a Latin and Greek teacher at Boston Latin in Boston, Mass. He began his 38-year Vermont teaching profession in 1946 at Northfield High School teaching English and Latin. This followed with teaching and serving as assistant principal at Plainfield High School until 1953. He was named teaching-principal of Hinesburg Schools and remained there as principal of grades one through twelve until 1963 when he was hired by the Orleans Southwest Supervisory Union as its Superintendent of Schools in the Hardwick, Craftsbury, and Greensboro area. He served those communities for 16 years. He ended his Vermont education career in 1982 with The National Diffusion Network working out of the Bennington-Rutland Sup. Union in Manchester, Vt. During his professional career he was an active member in numerous organizations. He was extremely proud of the work of the Vermont Principals' Assoc. and the VT Superintendents' Assoc., along with their national associations. He served as Coordinator of the former VT Headmasters and was president of the VT Supt. Assoc. He loved his 14 years of Boys' State held at Norwich Univ. each June. His community service activities were extensive. He was on the parish councils at St. Jude's in Hinesburg, St. Norbert's in Hardwick and St. John's in Northfield as well as a marvelous lector at each church. He served the community of Northfield for over 30 years as school board director, Justice of the Peace, Chair of the Board of Civil Authority, Chair of the Northfield Democratic Committee, President of the Senior Center and State House Representative in the VT Legislature in 1987 and 1988. As the Irish say, "He just walked of this earth" but our father left us with his legacy that will be passed on to following generations. His joy of the English language and literature, respect for all people, social responsibility and equality, his Catholic faith, and sense of humor all influenced us tremendously. The love of the Red Sox, the Democratic Party, Vermont, the ocean and music will be continued with his family members. The O'Brien family thanks all those neighbors who watched over him and helped him on Dickenson Dr. for so many years. We are also deeply appreciative of the exemplary care and love shown to him by staff members at Mayo Manor and Mayo Healthcare for the past four plus years. We thank everyone for all they have done for Joe and his family. FUNERAL NOTICE: A funeral mass celebrating Joe's life will be take place at 11 a.m. on Saturday, October 15, 2011 at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, Vine St., Northfield, VT with visiting hours from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, October 14 at Kingston Funeral Home, 35 Slate St., Northfield, VT In lieu of flowers contributions in Joe's memory will be graciously accepted at Mayo Healthcare, 71 Richardson St., Northfield 05663 or Northfield Senior Center, 10 Wall St., Northfield, VT 05663.

Published in Bennington Banner on Oct. 5, 2011
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