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J. WILLIAM O'BRIEN

Obituary
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J. WILLIAM O'BRIEN - WINOOSKI - J. William O'Brien, 87, a lifelong resident of Winooski, died peacefully at home surrounded by the arms of his children on Nov. 26, 2013. He follows his wife of 65 years, Phyllis Dorey O'Brien, who predeceased him on Sept. 23, 2006, and his mother, Yvonne Provost O'Brien, who predeceased him on Nov. 5, 1979, in leaving this world for the next in the "front parlor" of the O'Brien homestead. Bill is survived by six children and 19 grandchildren as follows: Kathleen O'Brien Blasberg and husband, Dean, and her children, Gregory, Nicole, Michelle and Danielle Guerin; Deborah O'Brien Rounds and husband, Edward Rounds, their children, Chadd O'Brien and Cody Rounds; John O'Brien and his children, Jay O'Brien, Jamie O'Brien-Ramirez, Jessie O'Brien and Casey O'Brien; Mary O'Brien Bushey and her children, Jennifer Alemany, Erica Shearouse, and Stephanie Sharpe; William O'Brien and wife, Susan, their children, Ashley, Kelley, Joseph and Billy; and Sharon O'Brien Kelley and husband, Brennan, and children, Susie Topp and Julianne Graham. He is also survived by 22 great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandchild; and sisters-in-law, Shirley O'Brien of Colchester, and Lily O'Brien of Falls Church, Va. Bill was also predeceased by his father, John E. O'Brien; and brothers, Dr. Thomas O'Brien and Dr. Robert O'Brien. Bill graduated from Winooski High School in 1943, and St. Michael's College in 1949. He faithfully served his country in W.W.II, enlisting in the United State Marines at the age of 17. He married Phyllis Dorey on Dec. 28, 1949, at St. Stephen Church in Winooski. He was a charter member of the Vermont State Police Academy, graduating at the top of his Class in 1949. He served in the Vermont State Police from 1949-1951, at which point he opted for a career change and enrolled in law school. He graduated from Boston University School of Law in 1954, and served as a law clerk to Vermont Federal District Court Judge Ernest Gibson in 1955. In 1956, he entered private practice and was appointed Winooski City Attorney. He was elected to the Vermont House of Representatives from Winooski 1956-1960. In 1958, he was elected as Chittenden County State's Attorney. In 1960, he was elected Chittenden County Probate Judge and was re-elected five times. He lost his only political race when he was defeated by Richard Mallory in a Special Election to the United States Congress in 1972. He returned to the private practice of law in 1972, until his retirement in 2006. Bill was a charter member of the National Diocesan Attorneys Association in 1963, and served the legal needs of the Diocese of Burlington under Bishops Robert F. Joyce, John A. Marshall and Kenneth A. Angell. He was a past chairman of the Uniform Probate Commission and the Vermont Occupational Safety and Health Commission. He was a lifelong member of St. Stephen Parish in Winooski, the Knights of Columbus, and several other charitable and fraternal organizations. His life was marked in dedication to the service of others, his family and his church. He leaves behind a legacy of compassion and caring which will be greatly missed. Visiting hours will occur on Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at LaVigne Funeral Home, 132 Main St., in Winooski. A prayer service by the Knights of Columbus will occur at 1:30 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013, at 10 a.m. at St. Stephen Catholic Church on Barlow Street in Winooski. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Bishop's Fund, 55 Joy Drive, South Burlington, VT 05403.

Published in The Burlington Free Press on Nov. 28, 2013
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