AMHERST -- Michael E. O'Brien, 49, of Thornton's Ferry Road, died Feb. 21, 2011, after a long illness.
He was born June 28, 1961, in Springfield, Mass., to Robert and Clare O'Brien.
He was raised in Wilbraham, Mass., and graduated from Minnechaug Regional High School in 1979.
He moved to New Hampshire to operate Amherst Taylor Rental along with his father. He eventually struck out on his own, starting O'Brien Industries. He was a skilled mechanic, respected for his ability to fix anything with a little duct tape and a screwdriver.
He once pulled a man from a burning car, but it was his everyday acts of heroism that defined him. He was incapable of ignoring someone who needed help. It is impossible to know how many driveways were plowed by this kind stranger who never asked for a thing in return, or how many heaters were fixed for no charge because he was more concerned about his customers' well-being than his bank account.
He was predeceased by his mother, Clare, and his brother-in-law, Paul Landry.
IN HIS LIFE: His big heart and spirit of generosity was a model for us all. To honor his memory, his family encourages everyone to be just a little kinder to your fellow man today.
He is survived by his father, Bob, of Amherst; sister, Kathy Landry of Milford; brother, Tim and sister-in-law Debbie of Hampden, Mass.; brother Tom and sister-in-law Stacy of Williamstown, Vt.; sister Maureen of Portland, Maine, and brother Terry and sister-in-law Janet of Goffstown. He is also survived by an extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins and by his beloved nieces and nephews: Nicole, Justin, Devon and Kelsey Landry, and Matthew, Erin, Christopher, Shannon and Liam O'Brien. The family would like to thank the staff at St. Joseph Hospital for their compassionate care and kindness.
SERVICES: Memorial visiting hours are Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., followed by a memorial service at 1 p.m., in the Smith & Heald Funeral Home, 63 Elm Street, Milford. Memorial donations may be made to St. Joseph Hospital c/o St. Joseph Hospital Resource Development, 172 Kinsley Street, P.O. Box 2013, Nashua, 03061-2013. Arrangements are in the care of Smith & Heald Funeral Home, 63 Elm Street, Milford (www.smith-heald.com).