WARD-O’BRIEN, DEBORAH Deborah Ward-O’Brien was born, raised and lived in North Haven, Connecticut with her daughter Cassidy Ward O’Brien and her husband of thirty-two years Dr. Wesley J. O’Brien, Jr. Above all else, she was profoundly dedicated to her family and shared with them an immeasurable, undying love. Deb was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma several years ago, yet never, not once, lost hope for the future. It is not in Deb’s nature to ruminate upon what might have been. Instead, she responded to adversity with action, seeking ways to make things better, rather than feeling badly about how they are. Such has been characteristic of Deb’s entire life during the course of which she gave of herself both professionally and in her community. Over the course of a long and rewarding nursing career, Deb, who held an APRN from Yale University School of Nursing, worked extensively with geriatric patients in facilities throughout Connecticut. She spent most of her professional life as an active member of various research teams (primarily in the field of women’s health) at Yale University, the Connecticut Mental Health Center, and the Women’s Center for Behavioral Research at Yale, and authored, with her colleagues, a number of published research articles. Recently retired, Deb returned to her first love, caring for and counseling the elderly, most recently at Elim Park, an assisted living community in Cheshire, Connecticut. Deb was active in politics and community work, volunteering her time to various boards and commissions in North Haven. She served as an elected member of the North Haven Board of Finance, Chair of the North Haven Republican Town Committee, a member of the North Haven Commission on Aging and a member of the North Haven Education Foundation. Although her stem cell transplant prevented her from attending, last year she channeled her energies toward improving the lot of others also challenged by lymphoma, inspiring and organizing a stem cell donation drive and a hugely successful fundraiser to benefit research at the Smilow Cancer Hospital in New Haven. Besides her husband and daughter she leaves a brother Charles W. Ward, Jr. She was predeceased by her son Wesley J. O’Brien III. Family and friends are invited to attend a funeral service on Thursday morning at 10:00 in St. John’s Episcopal Church, 3 Trumbull Place, North Haven and are also invited to attend the committal services immediately following in the North Haven Center Cemetery. The visiting hours will be Wednesday from 5 to 8 pm in the North Haven Funeral Home, 36 Washington Avenue. Should friends desire, memorial contributions may be made to the Stem Cell Transplant Program, c/o Smilow Cancer Hospital, P.O. Box 1849, New Haven, CT 06508. www.northhavenfuneral.com
North Haven Funeral Home, Inc.
36 Washington Avenue North Haven, CT 06473-2309
Published in The New Haven Register on Dec. 17, 2013