O'BRIEN, Eric Worthington Of Medfield, MA, Mattapoisett, MA and Norfolk, MA, died on January 7, 2021, peacefully with family by his side, after complications with pneumonia. He was 81.
Eric is survived by his wife of almost 54 years, Claudette Prefontaine O'Brien, his five children, Erin M. O'Brien, Kerry A. Durkin, Colleen L. O'Brien, Meghan A. Taylor and Peter T.C. O'Brien, his brother Kevin Bryan, and nine grandchildren: Ryan, Alison, Mikayla, Mara, Julia, Will, Ella, Dylan and Warren.
Eric was the son of Maurice O'Brien and Laura Cunningham O'Brien. He attended Newton High School, then went on to Fairfield University in Fairfield, CT. Upon graduation in 1961, Eric entered the United States Navy, where he was a Lieutenant, serving on the USS Hank, USS Roberts and USS Huse. Upon exiting the Navy in 1965, Eric began his career as a sales representative for M. E. O'Brien and Sons, Inc., a family business. In 1983, he became the company's owner and President, working tirelessly to grow the business. M. E. O'Brien and Sons is dedicated to assisting municipalities, developers and private corporations to design and build public spaces and urban landscapes. Eric's vision was to offer clients everything they needed to complete their recreation space.
Not only did he continue to build a thriving family business, but also worked toward the advancement of public parks. Eric passionately volunteered countless hours promoting and developing parks and recreation at local, regional and national levels, starting with his involvement with the Town of Medfield, Massachusetts' Parks and Recreation Department (1973-1978, 1990-1991), the Downtown Study Commission and Open Space and Recreation Planning Committee (2013-2014). He also served as Medfield's Cemetery Commissioner, where his priority was to plant trees all over Vinelake Cemetery to create a park-like setting. At the statewide (Massachusetts) level, he served on the Governor's Blue-Ribbon Panel on Land Protection (1998) and the Olmsted Parks State Advisory Board (1980-1990).
Eric started his involvement with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) in 1985. His various roles were member of the board of trustees (1985-1994), chair of the board of trustees (1995-1999), member of the national forum (2003-2008), and member of the strategic planning committee (2004). Eric was on the board of governors for the National Recreation and Park Foundation (NRPF) to support research, public policy, and public awareness efforts to advance parks, recreation, and environmental conservation (2006-2012). He served on the board of the Foundation for Sustainable Parks and Recreation created in 2012 and later served as the foundation's chair until 2017.
Eric served as trustee on the board of advisors for the National Association of Olmsted Parks (1984-1990), on the City Park Alliance Board of Directors (2006-2009), and as a world judge and corporate director for Nations in Bloom, Ltd. (1996-2003). Eric also served as a steering committee member for Clemson University's U. S. Play Coalition (2007-2015) and was on the board of directors for the Sajai Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching children about healthy lifestyle and nutrition decisions (2007-2010).
Eric was a true gentleman who enjoyed spending time with his family and friends. He loved playing golf, boating and reading. He was a faithful member of the Medfield Lions Club and for many years was a member of the MEMO business organization in Medfield.
At this time, the family will have private Services. Memorial Services will be held at a later date.
Published in Boston Globe from Jan. 8 to Jan. 9, 2021.