James D. O'Brien, age 88, of Eden, went to his Heavenly home on Monday, October 19, 2015 surrounded by his family. Col. Jim was born March 24, 1927 in the Garden of Eden to James H. and Estelle M. O'Brien. Jim and his bride, Helen Mae Perron, were married at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Eden on June 18, 1949. Together they farmed the O'Brien homestead in the town of Eden for nearly 60 years. Working together, they raised 10 children! Jim loved farming and auctioneering, traveling, his deer hunting friends, a good party and singing Irish tunes.
Jim began in the auction business at the age of 18 and spent 60 years as one-half of O'Brien Brothers Auctioneers, selling cattle, farm, and household auctions. In addition, Jim auctioned many years at Midwest Livestock Producers, Lomira, and was a lifelong member of the Wisconsin State and National Auctioneers Association. Jim also served the Ashford Mutual Insurance Company and Mt. Calvary Mutual Insurance Company as a member of the Board of Directors. Jim was a lifelong member of Shepherd of the Hills Parish, a proud member of the Eden Fire Department, announcing the Eden Firemen's parade for 50 years. He also served as a member of the Eden Lions Club, the Knights of Columbus, and the Catholic Order of Foresters.
Jim is survived by his wife, Helen, nine of his ten children: Jean Green and Patty O'Brien of North Fond du Lac; Jim Jr., Dennis and Karen O'Brien, all of Eden; Tim (Corina) O'Brien of Campbellsport; Barbara (Michael) Senn and Chris (Joe) Schiek, both of Fond du Lac; Maureen (Andy) Heimerl of Lester Prairie MN; and his daughter-in-law, Patty Maxia O'Brien of Eden. He is further survived by his sister, Sr. Michaela O'Brien, CSA, his brother Pat (Marilyn) O'Brien, and his brothers-in-law, Willie Gellings and Jerry (Bea) Perron; 24 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, and many special nieces, nephews, and dear friends.
Jim was preceded in death by his son, Daniel O'Brien; his parents, James and Estelle; three sisters and brothers-in-law - Florence (Frank) Flood, Helen Gellings, and Alice Michels Riegert (Arlyn Michels and Norb Riegert); his brother and sister-in-law, Tom (Coletta) O'Brien; his in-laws, Leo and Esther Perron, brother-in-law, John Perron, and sister and brother -in-law Jane (Art) Ambroso.
Visitation will be held on Friday, October 23, 2015 from 2:00-7:00 pm at Shepherd of the Hills Catholic Parish, Eden, and again from 9:00 am until time of service on Saturday, October 24. A Mass of Christian burial will be held at 10:30 am at the Church, Fr. Charlie Wester officiating. Burial will follow at St. Mary's Cemetery, Eden. Twohig Funeral Home is serving the family with online guestbook and condolences at www.twohigfunerals.com
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Shepherd of the Hills Catholic Parish or the Agnesian HealthCare Foundation. The family wishes to express its sincere gratitude to the staff of Agnesian HealthCare and the St. Francis Home for their warmth and caring during Jim's brief illness.
Published by Fond du Lac Reporter on Oct. 21, 2015.