FLORENCE- Kerry D. O'Brien, 73, of 12 Sylvan Lane, passed away peacefully on Monday evening at his home with his family.
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Kerry was born May 21, 1939, in Northampton, the son of the late James W. O'Brien, Jr. and Priscilla Parsons.
He was a lifelong resident of the city and was educated in local schools. Kerry graduated from Northampton High School and received his degree in business from Nichols College in Dudley.
In 1962, Kerry assumed the job of President of J.W. O'Brien & Son Insurance Agency, the family business, formerly in Northampton. Under Kerry's steady hand, the company became the leader in providing insurance here in the Valley. In 1984, the company merged with Woodward & Grinnell Insurance Agency in Northampton.
From 1992 to 1996, Kerry served as the auditor for the Massachusetts State Racing Commission in Foxboro. He oversaw the compliance of all race tracks and fair grounds and was instrumental in crafting legislation for the Three County Fairgrounds and for the Foxboro Race Track.
From 1996 until 2001, Kerry was the Director of special projects for the Office of the Majority Leader in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, ultimately assisting many constituents and their families throughout the Commonwealth. Kerry was the Director of Legislative Affairs for the Holyoke Soldiers' Home for the last 11 years, only recently retiring due to his illness.
Kerry's sense of stewardship and commitment to the community was reflected in his time volunteering for many organizations. He was a trustee of the Northampton B.P.O.E. Lodge 997 for ten years and a member for 31 years. He was also a member and a Director of the O.V.D.C.H. handicapped organization, a 25 year member of the United States Trotting Association, and a longtime member of the Williamsburg Rotary Club.
Kerry leaves his beloved wife of 51 years, Judith (Beaupre) O'Brien; his loving children, Erin Cooney (Christopher) and their children Kara, Kelly and Shane of Collierville, Tenn., Tara O'Brien Lashway (David) of Goshen and Kristy Dadmun (Thomas) and their children, Jack and Sam of Hatfield; his sister, Jay Torrey of Los Angeles, Calif.; and nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his brother, James W. O'Brien.
At Kerry's request, his funeral and burial will be private with the family. The Irish poet William Butler Yeats said "Think where man's glory most begins and ends, and say my glory was I had such friends." The family invites you to join them on Monday, Oct. 29 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Northampton Lodge of Elks, 17 Spring Street, Florence, to reminisce, share, laugh and celebrate the life of Kerry O'Brien. Donations in Kerry's memory may be made to the Holyoke Soldiers' Home, 110 Cherry St., Holyoke, MA 01040. The Czelusniak Funeral Home of Northampton has been entrusted with Kerry's care.
To sign a Guest Book, express condolences, share memories and read other obituaries, go to www.gazettenet.com/obituaries.
Czelusniak Funeral Home
349 Elm Street Westfield, MA 01085
Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette on Oct. 25, 2012