Catholic 04

Robert O'Brien

December 28, 1933 ~ October 21, 2021 (age 87)

Obituary Image


ORANGE-  Robert O’Brien 87 died peacefully at home Thursday October 21, 2021after a long illness.

He was born December 28, 1933 in Athol, Mass. to the late William J. O’Brien and the late Annie E. (Fay) O’Brien.

He married Joan E. (Cox) in Lowell and they enjoyed 62 years of marriage together.

Bob had a very strong Catholic faith. He was a member of St. Mary’s church where he loved going to daily Mass. He was a Eucharistic Minister for people who were home bound and in the nursing home. He also taught CCD for many years. He and Joan helped organize and cook when it was St. Mary’s turn to host the Loaves and Fishes that was run by Cliff Fournier.

He loved being a volunteer with Father Roach’s group who went to work with Missionaries of the Poor in Kingston, Jamaica.

He was quiet and did things for other people without calling attention to it.

He graduated from Athol High School and then received a Bachelor of Arts from Merrimack College in Andover

He worked for the A&P stores in Orange, Nashua N.H, and Andover before beginning his teaching career at the Athol Junior High. He taught in Erving for several years before becoming the Principal at Gale Brooks School in North Orange. He then continued his teaching career at Butterfield Elementary in Orange, where he taught sixth grade for many years. During this time (late 60’s) he moved his family to the Pine Ridge Indian reservation where he spent a year working for the Bureau of Indian Affairs teaching at the Junior High in Pine Ridge. He returned to Butterfield teaching sixth grade until his retirement in 1994.

In his retirement he went back to Gale Brooks School and worked for the Community Development program for 15 years as the custodian

He liked to camp with his family out west, when they were young. He and Joan continued to camp in State and National Parks across the U.S. and Canada. They also had many adventures traveling to Ireland and Europe.

He was an avid reader of history. Bob could always be found reading books, newspapers, magazines, and stopping to visit every museum, monument and historical marker in his travels.

When home he enjoyed working outdoors, watching Sean coach his football teams, painting his house, tapping his maple trees in the spring to make syrup, cutting wood for the stove and walking in the Quabbin with Joan and the dog.

He was predeceased by his parents, his brothers William O’Brien and Bartlett O’Brien, and his sisters, Ellen Ellinwood, Anne O’Brien, and Margaret Taintor.

He leaves behind his wife Joan, his son Sean(Amy) O’Brien of Holyoke, MA; Daughters Bridget(Michael)Welch of Uxbridge, MA, Maureen O’Brien of Waynesville, Ga., and Fay(Timothy) Ott of Laurel, MD; as well as grandchildren Elizabeth Welch, John Welch, Patrick Welch, Peter Welch, Paige Ott, and Connor Ott;  and two great grandchildren Alee and Kai.


Calling hours will be held on Tuesday, October 26, 2021 from 4-7 p.m. at Witty’s Funeral Home, 158 South Main Street, Orange.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Wednesday, October 27, 2021 at 10 a.m. at Saint Mary’s Church, 19 Congress Street, Orange, with Fr. Shaun O’Connor officiating.

Interment will follow in South Cemetery, Orange.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Food For Poor  Inc., 6401 Lyons Road, Coconut Creek, FL 33073 or to Red Cloud Indian School, 100 Mission Drive, Pine Ridge, SD 57770.

Witty’s Funeral Home, 158 South Main Street, Orange, is assisting the family.

Guest book and directions online at WWW.WITTYFUNERALHOME.COM

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Robert O'Brien, please visit our floral store.


October 26, 2021

4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Witty's Funeral Home
158 South Main Street
Orange, Massachusetts 01364

Mass of Christian Burial
October 27, 2021

10:00 AM
Saint Mary's Church
19 Congress Street
Orange, Massachusetts 01364

Interment following funeral service
October 27, 2021

South Cemetery
585 South Main Street
Orange, Massachusetts 01364

© 2021 Witty's Funeral Home. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy