Cover photo for Jean W. O'Brien's Obituary
Jean W. O'Brien Profile Photo

Jean W. O'Brien

December 3, 1926 — December 3, 2023

Jean W. O'Brien

With characteristic dignity and grace, Jean O’Brien joined God on her 97th birthday, after her mission on this earth was completed. She died peacefully and without pain, supported by family, friends, and caring medical professionals. Everyone who encountered Jean loved her upbeat attitude, kind words, and her elegant personal style. Throughout her entire life, she faithfully served people with enormous love and compassion.

Jean was born in the small town of Hillburn, NY. She was a responsible daughter and elder sibling to her family. Jean left her hometown after high school to study at Saint Lukes School of Nursing in New York City. After World War II she was swept off her feet on Amsterdam Avenue by Patrick O’Brien, her Navy sweetheart and loving husband. She remained dedicated and loyal to him for the rest of her life. Jean engaged fully with her three children, five nieces and nephews, three grandchildren, and two great grandchildren; the family members and their spouses are grateful for all the memories she gave them.

She welcomed everyone into her home and entertained friends and family with good food, fellowship, and lots of laughter. Jean was a talented cook; preparing food was one of the ways she expressed her love for others. She enjoyed playing cards and board games and modeled what it means to have a sense of fair play and fun. Jean was an avid reader as well as skilled seamstress and knitter; music and dancing brought happiness and enrichment to all aspects all of her life. She traveled extensively in the US and abroad, explored new cultures, and performed field work to collect data for archeological digs in the US southwest.

She was a woman of faith, both within the Presbyterian Church (USA) and interdenominational Christian organizations. Her service and leadership ranged in scale from local to international efforts for more than seven decades. Particular organizations dear to her heart included: individual NY and PA churches, Long Island Presbyterian Women, Stony Point Retreat Center, and the Global Jubilee and Churchwide Gathering of Presbyterian Women.

Jean worked as a pediatric registered nurse for thirty years, first in a hospital setting at St. Lukes Hospital (NYC) and then in private practice on Long Island, NY. Her informal nursing service extended to every neighborhood where she lived. She was a key member of the Paid and Volunteer Employment Service (PAVES), giving high school students valuable job and service opportunities. She was a Girl Scout leader and taught Sunday school at the Garden City Presbyterian Church for many years. Her love of children and young people, coupled with her ability to relate to them, made her popular and kept her vibrant and young at heart. In addition to her generosity of time and attention, she doled out homemade chicken salad, banana bread and brownies to children young and old.

Jean spent the last decade of her life in Meadville, PA where she was welcomed by family members, a new church congregation, and wonderful neighbors and friends. In particular, she was grateful for the incredible community of health and wellness professionals who kept her active and healthy until her last breath.

A Celebration of Life will be held at 4 PM on Saturday, February 3, 2024, at Ford Chapel, Allegheny College, 516 N. Main St., Meadville, followed by a reception.  There will be a private graveside service in NY.


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Past Services

A Celebration of Life Service

Saturday, February 3, 2024

Starts at 4:00 pm (Eastern time)

Ford Chapel at Allegheny College

516 North Main Street, Meadville, PA 16335

Reception will follow.

Although she is gone, Jean's memory will continue to live on.

Private committal in New York

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