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Hart Funeral Service, Inc. - Asheville
60 Phifer St.
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 252-2090
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John Neville "Johnny" O'Brien


1922 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
John Neville "Johnny" O'Brien Obituary
John "Johnny" Neville O'Brien

Asheville - John "Johnny" Neville O'Brien, 95, died peacefully on Friday, February 2, 2018 at The Laurels at Green Tree Ridge. Born November 17, 1922 in Miami, FL he was the son of William and Lavania Louise Mackey O'Brien. Both parents preceded him in death.

As a very young boy, Johnny moved to Cat Island, Bahamas where he was raised by his grandmother until his late teens when he returned to Miami to work for his father. During WWII, he worked at a naval shipyard in Miami. Following the war, he was employed by Mitchell and Frances Wolfson in Miami and Asheville. Through the Wolfsons he met and was hired by Harry Blomberg to work for Harry's car dealership where he continued to work for over 55 years. Johnny was a beloved member of the dealership family. He was always the first to arrive and open the doors-after his usual breakfast at Tastee Diner. Even after officially retiring he continued this routine and sat in his personal rocking chair greeting customers. When he could no longer drive, members of the Harry's family drove him from his retirement home to breakfast and the dealership several days a week, including two days before his death. On his 90th birthday, celebrated during a party at Harry's, Johnny was featured on WRAL-TV's Tarheel Traveler as "Johnny O" is Asheville's car chief::WRAL.com. Johnny was a member and retired Usher at Nazareth First Missionary Baptist Church.

Surviving are his son, Johnny O'Brien, Jr.; grandson, Elijah Trace Freese; many relatives in Nassau, Bahamas as well as his employee family at Harry's On The Hill. He was also preceded in death by his wife, Elizabeth O'Brien in 1980.

Services will be held Thursday, February 8th at 2 p.m. in the chapel of Hart Funeral Service. Dr. Charles R. Mosley, Sr. will officiate, burial will be in Violet Hill Cemetery.
Published in the Asheville Citizen-Times on Feb. 7, 2018
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