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Estela O’Brien (2019), Soledad O’Brien’s mother

by Kirk Fox

Estela O’Brien was the mother of television journalist Soledad O’Brien. She passed away just 40 days after Soledad’s father. Soledad shared details of her mother’s life in a touching Instagram post. Estela was an immigrant from a poor Cuban family who left Fidel Castro’s regime to come to America for an education. She attended college and married O’Brien’s father, an interracial marriage at a time when it was still illegal. She became a teacher who taught at the high school that Soledad attended. Estela and her husband put all six of their children through college. Soledad called her mom “a pretty remarkable lady.”

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Died: Monday, March 18, 2019. (Who else died on March 18?)


Details of death: Soledad confirmed her passing in her Instagram tribute.

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Highlights of Soledad’s tribute to her mother: “My mom died today. Joining my dad who passed away 40 days ago. She was a pretty remarkable lady. An immigrant from Cuba, she lived with the Oblate Sisters of Providence in Baltimore during college.”

“She’d go on to marry my dad (mixed race marriages were illegal in Maryland in 1959). The year their sixth child was born the U.S. Supreme Court would overturn the ban on interracial marriage.”

“She learned two languages fluently — English and French, and became an educator. She had a reputation for being super-strict, which made me very popular (not!) since she taught at my high school.”

Full obituary: People

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