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James Richard O'Brien

June 13, 1939 ~ June 7, 2018 (age 78)
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James Richard O’Brien, born June 13, 1939, left this world gently with the support of his family on June 7, 2018.


Raised in Lansing in a family of five brothers, Jim was an outstanding athlete, a card shark, an avid golfer, and fan of horse racing, Tiger baseball, and Spartan basketball.  


In the US Air Force in the early 60s, Jim was a Russian language specialist and early adopter of computer technology. He joined Honeywell, Inc. in 1965 to teach computer programming to recent graduates, and then transitioned to sales and sales management. In 1976, he joined JSJ Corporation as head of sales at Carlon Meter Company, and ultimately joined a partnership to purchase the company, serving as partner and vice president until retirement.  


He served on the boards of the Spring Lake District Library and the Friends of Ottawa County Parks. He was active in the Owashtanong Islands Audubon Society, Junior Achievement, and St. Mary’s Catholic Church where he ushered, helped in the food pantry, and provided transportation for the elderly and disabled. He was a long-time member of the American Legion, Muskegon Irish American Society, and Spring Lake Country Club.


Jim truly enjoyed people. He made friends easily and enjoyed lifelong friendships at his homes in Spring Lake, West Olive, and Sanibel Island, FL. We’ll miss his intelligence, his wit, his love of family, and his kindness. He was, as he liked to say of others, “a good one.”


He leaves behind a large and loving family, including devoted wife Jeanne McKenna O’Brien, who loved him well and tenderly throughout more than 60 years together.


He is survived by children Kathleen (Mark Jones), Julie, Christopher (Anne Bryson), and Amy (Jeremy Lynch). Son-in-law Mark Helsen. Grandchildren Hadley O’Brien (Adam Mulling) and Lydia Fritz (Pat); Riley and Isaac Helsen; and Caroline, John, and Cavan O’Brien. Great grandchildren Isla and Ronan O’Brien-Mulling. Brothers Patrick (Judie), Thomas (Chris), and Michael. And in-laws Ray and Patsy Lincolnhol, Henry and Karen Jallos, Brian and Donna McKenna, David and Kristine Poulson, and Kevin and Brenda McKenna, Ann O’Brien, and a large clan of nieces, nephews, and great-nieces and nephews, who loved their uncle Jim.


Jim was predeceased by his parents Jack and Frances O’Brien and his brother Robert.


The family invites you to an Irish wake and celebration of life to be held at Spring Lake Country Club on Thursday, June 14 5:30-7:30 p.m. A requiem mass will be held Friday, June 15 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Spring Lake, visitation with the family one hour before the service at the church. A funeral luncheon follows the service.  Contributions in his memory may be made to Friends of Ottawa County Parks. Interment will take place at St. Joseph Cemetery in Lansing at a later date.




Donations may be made to:

Friends of Ottawa County Parks
PO Box 84, Lamont MI 49430

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