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ROBERT EMMETT O'BRIEN MD FACP

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ROBERT EMMETT O'BRIEN MD FACP Obituary
ROBERT EMMETT O'BRIEN, MD FACP - COLCHESTER - Robert Emmett O'Brien, MD FACP, 92, a longtime resident of Winooski and Colchester, died peacefully at home surrounded by loving family on Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013. Robert was born in Winooski on Feb. 3, 1921, the son of John E. O'Brien and Yvonne M. (Provost) O'Brien. He was a graduate of Cathedral High School, Class of 1938; Saint Michael's College, Class of 1942 (Cum Laude) Prize for Biology, Chemistry and Philosophy, elected charter member of Delta Epsilon Sigma Catholic Honorary Society; the University of Vermont College of Medicine, Class of 1945 (Cum Laude) Prize for Clinical Medicine, and interned at Mary Fletcher Hospital. He served his residency at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford, Conn., and served the Winooski community in private practice specializing in Internal Medicine and Cardiology for 50 years. Robert was married at St. Stephen Catholic Church in Winooski on July 30, 1946, to Shirley A. (Murray) O'Brien, RN. He was a veteran of World War II, serving his country as Captain with the United States Army. Robert served at Regional Hospital, Fort Meade, Md.; Brooks Army Medical Center, San Antonio, Texas; Surgeon General's Office (Pentagon), and Walter Reed General Hospital. He was a member of the first medical team to ever use chemotherapy in the treatment of Cancer (Lymphoma Leukemia). He was a Diplomat of American Board of Internal Medicine: Past President of Medical Staff at Fanny Allen Hospital, Degosbriand and Mary Fletcher Hospitals (now Fletcher Allen Health Care), and served on executive committees and many hospital committees. Robert was the First Chief of Medicine at Fanny Allen Hospital, Founder and first Director of Coronary Care Unit at Fanny Allen Hospital; recipient of many hospital awards; a Life Member of Vermont State Medical Society, serving on many committees; Past Chairman of Committee on Grievances against Physicians; Past Chairman of Vermont Board of Medical Practice; Life Fellow and Past Governor of American College of Physicians; Past President and Life Member of Board of Directors and Honorary Life President of Vermont Chapter of American Lung Association; member of the American Heart Association, serving several committees; member (1963-1973), and past president (1972-1973) of University of Vermont Board of Trustees; member of Saint Michael's College Board of Trustees (1975-2005), Trustee Emeritus (2005 to present). He was active in Alumni Affairs for Saint Michael's College and University of Vermont, recipient of Alumnus of Year Award and Honorary Doctorate Degree from Saint Michael's College, the University of Vermont College of Medicine Award for outstanding service to Medicine and Community Clinical Professor of Medicine; and the University of Vermont College of Medicine. Dr. O'Brien had a strong interest in education and established the Robert E. and Shirley A. O'Brien Scholarship Fund at Saint Michael's College. They awarded for many years a scholarship to a girl and a boy graduate of Winooski High School in honor of his Aunt Ella Mae and father, John. Dr. O'Brien served as Winooski Health Officer for 45 years, and once spent three weeks in the barrio outside Caracas, Venezuela, providing medical aid to this poor nation. He was a member of GBIC Board that worked to bring IBM to Essex Junction. Bob was active in community and church affairs, was a lector since Vatican II at St. Stephen and Holy Cross Catholic Churches, where he was a member and Past Chairman of Parish Council and Liturgy Committee at Holy Cross. He was a great supporter of the pro-life movement, appearing at many hearings and television debated in opposition of Roe V Wade in the early years of its passage into law, and was also a firm believer in health care for all. Bob was proud of his Irish and French Canadian heritage. He enjoyed his dual citizenship with the United States and Ireland, and many trips to Ireland with Shirley and family, visiting all 32 counties. He enjoyed speaking French daily with his Francophone patients and many trips to visit French relatives in Quebec. He once took a six day river raft trip through the Grand Canyon. During high school and college, Bob played saxophone and clarinet with several dance bands. He enjoyed family and friends, especially large family gatherings with French Canadian and Irish song fests, golf, boating, crosscountry skiing, fishing, traveling, jazz and classical music, literature, Irish history, politics, and playing bridge. He was a member for 64 years with the Knights of Columbus, a member of the Winooski Senior Citizens, and a former member of the Burlington Country Club and the Ethan Allen Club. Bob and Shirley have nine children; 21 grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild. He is survived by his loving wife of 67 years, Shirley; nine children and their spouses, Timothy P. and Sue Ann of Winooski, Patricia E. of Colchester, Maureen A. of Colchester, Mary Jane and Michael Bailey of Colchester, Dr. Stephen EmR, MD and Chris of Clemson, S.C., Sheila A. of Colchester, Michael R. and Susan of Winooski, Brigid C. and John Kulhowvick of Essex Junciton, and Dr. James K., MD and Michele of Norwich, N.Y.; 21 grandchildren and spouses and 13 great-grandchildren, Patrick and Mellissa O'Brien (Morgan and Alana); Meghan and Thomas Mongeon (Logan, Riley and Cian); Colleen and Andrei Noni; Kelli and Matt Reno (Jeremy); Dr. Brian Dinger; Conor and Jess O'Brien (Liam, Aiden, Maeve and Rowan); Erin O'Brien; Edward O'Brien (Phillip and Jeremy (Jalen)); Ellen and Dr. Thomas Woodcock; Daniel Hayes, Matthew Robbins; Dr. Robert O'Brien and Dr. Chi Hunt Wong; Thomas and Kimberly O'Brien; Kate and Matt Violette (Amelia); Mary and Mark Kulhowvick; Kathryn, James K., Jason, Theresa and Jacqueline O'Brien; brother, J. William O'Brien of Winooski; sisters-in-law, Lily O'Brien, Lois Lantman and Helen Devoid; and many cousins, nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents; brother, Dr. Thomas E., MD; brothers-in-law, Howard Lantman and Carroll Devoid; sister-in-law, Phyllis O'Brien; aunts, uncles and cousins. Visiting hours will be on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, from 3 to 7 p.m., including a prayer service by the Knights of Columbus beginning at 6:30 p.m., at the LaVigne Funeral Home, 132 Main St. in Winooski. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013, at 1 p.m. at the Chapel of St. Michael the Archangel, St. Michael's College, Winooski, Park in Colchester. Parking will be available for the Mass next to the sports center at the west entrance of the college. Memorial contributions can be made to the Robert E. and Shirley A. O'Brien Scholarship Fund, c/o St. Michael's College Development Office, One Winooski Park, Colchester, VT 05439.

Published in The Burlington Free Press on Oct. 2, 2013
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