Gerald Michael "Mike O'Brien was born June 8, 1934. He died June 22, 2013, in an assisted care living facility. He leaves a legacy of values.
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Mike was one of four children raised by William O'Brien, who became a widower during Mike's fourth year. William had a profound influence on the man Mike was to become, teaching important life lessons. Humility, honesty and self-sufficiency are character traits Mike successfully distilled from his single parent upbringing.
"Honest as the day is long" is Mike's description of his father. There is much admiration and gratitude in his remembering. Mike spoke glowingly of William's hard work and diligence. There was no room for vulgarity or drink or yelling in the life of William O'Brien and his children. He did not entertain any form of "showboating," and Mike learned these lessons well. "My family treated me right, and tried to show me the right way." Mike O'Brien came to exemplify the character his father demonstrated and taught his children.
Steeped in the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, Mike came to the place where he trained for and received the Sacrament of Holy Orders to the office of Deacon. Taking vows of poverty, chastity and charity, Mike served Christ's Church in ministry to the marginalized peoples in Alaska. He faithfully loved the least among us out of the depths of an interior life centered in the Eucharist, and fueled by a life of prayer, which propelled him into action.
Engaged in works of social justice and charity, Mike was a clergyman in the midst of the secular world. He went from the altar to the world in a prophetic way, bringing Christ to those for whom he gave his life. Mike professed and practiced an unwavering faith in his loving and merciful God and the saving grace of Jesus Christ. He held a deep conviction in the priesthood of all believers, and lived out of this understanding a life committed to loving God and his neighbor.
There will be a memorial service for Mike at 5:30 p.m. Aug 1, 2013, at Sacred Heart Cathedral.
Published in Daily News-Miner on July 31, 2013