Albert C. O'Brien
1935 - 2021
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O'Brien, Albert C.
Albert Carey O'Brien, Professor Emeritus of History, passed away on February 6 at the age of 85.
Al was born in 1935 in Cranston, RI to John and Helen O'Brien. He graduated from Providence College and was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study at the University of Turin in Italy. Al earned an M.A. in Teaching from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in History from the University of Notre Dame. In 1965, he joined the faculty at San Diego State University (SDSU) as a professor of Modern European History. He married fellow faculty member Mary Margaret Eide on June 15, 1968. Al and Mary bought a home in Point Loma and started a family.
During his 35-year-long career at SDSU, Al received numerous awards, including Most Influential Faculty member, Outstanding Academic Advisor, and Outstanding Faculty Member. He received the Lifetime Advising Award in 2000 for his exemplary academic advising.
Al was a brilliant and compassionate man with a sharp sense of humor who fostered critical thinking in his students and his daughters. He enjoyed gardening, travelling, listening to classical music, and spending time with his family. A voracious reader and lifelong learner, Al shared his knowledge and wit with all who had the joy of knowing him.
Al was a founding member and longtime President of San Diego Call to Action. He also helped found the Mary Magdalene Apostle Catholic Community (MMACC), a community of progressive Catholics committed to reforming the church.
He is survived by his loving wife of 53 years, Mary; his two daughters, Jen and Katie, and their spouses, Ethan and Leonardo; and his three grandchildren, Elia, Lucas, and Marcos.
A virtual memorial mass was held on February 13. His ashes will be scattered off the coast of Sunset Cliffs. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to the Dr. Al O'Brien Endowed Scholarship at SDSU for non-traditional and first-generation college students: and the Mary Magdalene Apostle Catholic Community at MMACC c/o Gethsemane Lutheran Church, 2696 Melbourne Dr., San Diego, CA 92123.

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Published in The Providence Journal on Feb. 28, 2021.
Memories & Condolences
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5 entries
March 2, 2021
Al O'Brien was a wonderful friend. I enjoyed knowing he and Mary for over10 years. I was in a small faith group with them for about 8 years through our MMACC community. His knowledge of history, as well as his personal journey were meaningful contributions to our group. Some important memories are of his kindness and caring for people. He often spoke of how much he enjoyed his grandchildren. We will miss Al but will always remember him because of those wonderful memories. Condolences, sympathy and love to Mary and his daughters and their families.
Pat Jones
February 28, 2021
Ethan O'Brien
February 28, 2021
Ethan O'Brien
February 28, 2021
Al was such a wonderful man. We will miss him terribly.
Ethan O'Brien
February 28, 2021
Sad to hear that Al passed away. He was a gifted student and track star at CHS class of '53. May he rest in peace. Sincerely, Joe Mancini, Vero Beach, Fl
Joe Mancini
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