Bernard C. O'Brien, 85, a prominent resident of North Wilkes-Barre, died Friday, June 21, 2013, in Wilkes-Barre General Hospital, where he had been a patient for the past several days.
Mr. O'Brien was born in Wilkes-Barre, son of the late Christopher and Elizabeth McEnany O'Brien, and was a graduate of James M. Coughlin High School, Wilkes-Barre. He proudly served with the U.S. Navy during World War II at Sampson, N.Y. and Memphis, Tenn., earning the rank of yeoman third class and both the American Theater Medal and the Victory Medal. Following his military service, Mr. O'Brien attended St. Thomas College, Scranton, now the University of Scranton.
He worked for the Delaware and Hudson railroads and later for the Canadian Pacific Railroad, encompassing a career which spanned 51 years, prior to his retirement in 1999. He had been an engineer, fireman and general road foreman of engines. He was also employed by the Sordoni Construction Co. and was a volunteer engineer at Steamtown National Park, Scranton, operating the engine on many rail excursions.
He was featured on The History Channel's "Modern Marvels" and was the oldest active engineer for diesel locomotives in North America at his retirement in 1999. He was honored by the Delaware and Hudson railroads by having a refurbished diesel engine, Number 7312, named the B.C. O'Brien Engine.
He was a member of Corpus Christi Parish, Immaculate Conception Church, West Pittston, and had been a member of the former St. John the Evangelist and Sacred Heart Churches, Wilkes-Barre. He was also a member of Joseph E. Conlon Post #558, American Legion, Plains Township, and the International Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Bertha Hine O'Brien, who died in 1989.
Surviving are his son, Christopher B. O'Brien and his companion, Marti Iben, Hanover Township; fiancee, Dorothy Sargent, at home; sisters, Mrs. Joan Buffington and Barbara Eckenrode, both of Ridley Park, Pa., Margaret White and Mrs. Christine Hine, both of Wilkes-Barre; numerous nieces and nephews.
Funeral will be held at 9:15 a.m. Monday at the H. Merritt Hughes Funeral Home Inc., a Golden Rule Funeral Home, 451 N. Main St., Wilkes-Barre, with a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. at Immaculate Conception Church, Corpus Christi Parish, 605 Luzerne Ave., West Pittston. The Rev. Monsignor John J. Sempa, pastor, will officiate. Entombment will be in St. Mary's Mausoleum, Hanover Township. Friends may call 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday.
The family requests that flowers be omitted and that donations in Mr. O'Brien's name be made to the
, 111 S. Independence Mall E., Philadelphia, PA 19106; or to a
Published in Times Leader on June 22, 2013