Dr. Robert J. O’Brien, 93, passed away on November 17, 2021, in Las Vegas, NV, with his daughters by his side. In life, we loved you dearly, in death we love you still. In our hearts, you hold a place that no one could ever fill.
Robert “Bob” is survived by his daughters, Roxanne O’Brien and Jennifer O’Brien, grandsons, Robert Avruch and Maxwell Avruch, sisters Joan Ducharme and Marie Murray. He was predeceased by his beloved wife Norma Jean (Mueller) O’Brien and daughter, Kim O’Brien, and brother, Deacon John O’Brien. Bob was a Communicant of Holy Cross parish.
Robert J. O’Brien was born in Holyoke, MA to John J. O’Brien and Gertrude (More’) O’Brien on April 24, 1928. He always wanted to follow his dream and passion in medicine and his loving and devoted family supported him in every way. It was a long road and many sacrifices, but Bob cherished every moment of it. He graduated from St. Michael’s College in VT and got his medical degree from St. Louis University where he met his beautiful wife Norma Jean. They married in 1954 upon his graduation from medical school. He chose surgery, specifically vascular and general surgery and entered a 5 year residency program at Bellevue Hospital in NYC. He returned to his roots and set up a private practice in Holyoke, MA. He was affiliated with Holyoke Hospital, Providence Hospital, Cooley Dickenson Hospital, Mercy Hospital, and the Soldier’s Home. Bob poured his heart and soul into his love of medicine and surgery and was admired for his compassion and skill. He was highly inventive and always searching for knowledge. He treated and cared for so many with his healing hands and made everyone feel so important and special with his precious heart and kind smile, and incredibly generous and had the most authentic sense of humor.
Bob served in 3 armed services, Navy, Marines, and was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force and later years was a flight surgeon for the Air National Guard at Barnes Air Force Base and also a flight surgeon for the Air Reserve at Westover Air Force Base. He was the surgeon for both the Holyoke police and the Holyoke fire department. For many years, Bob enjoyed being an active member of the Holyoke St. Patrick ‘s Day Parade Committee.
Bob was an opera aficionado, a pilot, fisherman, cook, skier, golfer, hunter, motorcycle rider, extensive traveler and entertainer for all his friends and family. He loved animals and taught his family that respect for all living things is a gift from God.
His legacy, until the very end, was his tremendous love for fellow man and the kindest man you could ever meet. He was light and love. To quote John Denver, “If I should live forever and all my dreams come true, my memories of love will be of you.” Rest in peace our beautiful father, until we meet again.
Services will be held at the Massachusetts Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery in Agawam on May 27, 2022, at 3pm.
Published by The Republican from Nov. 29 to Nov. 30, 2021.