JOHN F. O’BRIEN

September 22, 2022

JOHN F. O’BRIEN
U.S. Veteran

US Army

John F. O’Brien – of Randolph, September 22nd. Beloved husband of Leonardia (Maskiewicz) O’Brien. Devoted father of Kathryn O’Brien Bordonaro, her husband Peter of NY NY, Elizabeth Murphy, her husband Robert of Seattle WA, and Daniel O’Brien, his wife Mary of Woburn. Dear brother of the late Anne R. O’Brien and the late Edward M. O’Brien. Adored grandfather of Michael J. Bordonaro, Margaret F. Solarz, Maura, Meaghan and Joseph O’Brien and great-grandfather of Grace and Clementine Bordonaro and Lorenzo Solarz. John is also survived by his loving nieces Erin and Kayla. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated in St. Charles Church, 280 Main Street, Woburn, on Tuesday, September 27th at 10 A.M.  Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to Calling hours, Tuesday, 8:30-9:45 a.m. PRIOR to John’s Funeral Mass in the Lynch-Cantillon Funeral Home, 263 Main Street, Woburn, MA 01801.  Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in John’s memory to The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, PO Box 91891, Washington, D.C. 20090.

John Francis O’Brien (1930-2022)

Born on September 12, 1930 in Boston, Massachusetts to Grace (Maley) and Francis J. O’Brien.  As a child, John lived in Milton, Dorchester, and Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.  Upon his father’s death when he was 10 years old,  John moved with his family to the Fenway section of the Back Bay.  John attended Boston Public Schools until the last years of high school when he enrolled in the Huntington School from which he graduated in 1948.  As a teen-ager, he delivered papers, worked in the A&P, and worked at the local gas stations.  Enrolled at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, John met two pivotal people in his life: his future wife in German class and his closest friend, Bob Rice, in the dormitory.  His time at Bates was interrupted by the Korean War Draft in 1952.  While in the Army, he went to data processing school.  Married in 1953 to Leonardia S. Maskiewicz, John finished his degree from Bates in 1955 and returned to Boston.  By the late fifties, he had graduated with an MSW from Boston University.

Professionally, John worked as a social worker for the Veterans Administration in downtown Boston, Bedford, and Brockton, the Judge Baker Guidance Center, the Greater Boston Family Service Association, the Cambridge Family Service Assocation, the Interfaith Relief Effort after the 1978 Blizzard, and the Professional Counselling Center, Inc. in New Bedford.  He worked well past normal retirement age!  He had a long-time appointment as an Adjunct Professor at Smith College for whom he supervised social work students in their required placements.  In 1964 he published “Personality patterns of rheumatoid arthritic patients” in Arthritis and Rheumatology with his colleague Fredric B. Nalven.  In 1968 Dr. Nalven and he co-authored  “On the use of the MMPI with rheumatoid arthriticpatients” in the Journal of Clinical Psychology.  In the 1970’s he was active in the White House Conference of Families convened by President Carter.

On September 12, 2022, John celebrated his 69th wedding anniversary to his beloved wife Nard.  Having met as teen-agers, they stayed happily married to the very end.  Since January, he had been living in an assisted living facility within walking distance from Nard’s nursing home.  He visited her most days by using his walker to traverse the short distance between their residences.  This visit was a highlight of their day.

A devoted family member, John was much bereaved by his older sister’s death in 1951.  He remained close to his mother and brother throughout their lives.  He especially relished speaking with his brother about sports and cars!  During his father-in-law’s life, John brought his family to visit weekly on the family farm in Newbury.  A city boy through and through, John helped out with the farm chores every week.  He always said that for an urban kid, spring had meant hearing the melting snows rush through the sewers.  But on the farm, he learned that spring meant plowing a large garden and other essential tasks.

The proud father of Kathryn, Elizabeth, and Daniel, John relished being a parent.  He had missed a long relationship with his own father and lavished time and attention on his children with special emphasis.  He was always ready to chauffeur, engage in activities, and lend a helping hand.  He went on every Boy Scout camping trip.  He sledded and skated with his children in the winter and took the family to Cape Cod in the summer.  For many years, he delighted in sailing a JetWind on the waters off Chatham, Massachusetts.

The arrival of grandchildren was a great joy.  The Bordonaroscalled him Grandpa. The O’Briens called him the more formal, yet quite apt, Grandfather.  They all loved his company.  There were special games, pizza nights, pre-Thanksgiving Pie Day.   He was a frequent attendant and perpetual chauffeur for athletic events.  There are memories to last a lifetime!  He enthusiastically greeted the arrival of great-grandchildren.  Covid made it impossible to see them but he gamely did video calls and followed their development closely.

When their own children were grown, John and Nard were able to travel with friends, family, and on their own.  The Florida Keys were their favorite getaway.  But they traveled in the western United States with friends and made a very special trip to Ireland with his cousin Mary Catherine O’Brien and the Bordonaros.

An avid sports fan, John kept up with all manner of sports from Candlewood Bowling to the major league teams in all disciplines.  He ran track in high school and college prior to his service in the Army, 1952-1954, mostly at the Pentagon. He reveled in the athletic successes of Maura, Meaghan, and Joey.  Baseball, however, was his true passion.  He could combine his love of numbers with an appreciation for the physical aspect of the game and was a true student of America’s favorite pastime.  A lifelong Red Sox fan, he followed all the teams and players with a keen eye and enjoyed analyzing the sport at any time.

John was a great friend to many.  His dearest friend, Bob Rice, was his college roommate.  Bob’s late wife, Cil, was a Bates nursing grad like Nard.  The two couples were lifelong companions, traveling mates, and lovers of Cape Cod.  He and Bob enjoyed a healthy competition in their sailboats each summer.  Other very special friends were Feung and Mew Sin Lee and their children.  The O’Briens and the Lees celebrated major holidays and birthdays together for decades.  In the 60’s, John played bridge regularly with work colleagues who became friends.  Everywhere that he went he made new friends!

John F. O’Brien beloved husband of Leonardia (Maskiewicz) O’Brien. Devoted father of Kathryn O’Brien Bordonaro, her husband Peter of NY NY, Elizabeth Murphy, her husband Robert of Seattle WA, and Daniel O’Brien, his wife Mary of Woburn. Dear brother of the late Anne R. O’Brien and the late Edward M. O’Brien. Adored grandfather of Michael J. Bordonaro, Margaret F. Solarz, Maura, Meaghan and Joseph O’Brien and great-grandfather of Grace and Clementine Bordonaro and Lorenzo Solarz. John is also survived by his loving nieces Erin and Kayla.

His family and friends will sorely miss him.

A Funeral Mass will be celebrated in St. Charles Church, 280 Main Street, Woburn, on Tuesday, September 27th at 10 A.M.  Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to Calling hours, Tuesday, 8:30-9:45 a.m. PRIOR to John’s Funeral Mass in the Lynch-Cantillon Funeral Home, 263 Main Street, Woburn, MA 01801.  Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in John’s memory to The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, PO Box 91891, Washington, D.C. 20090.

 

 

 

A Funeral Mass will be celebrated in St. Charles Church, 280 Main Street, Woburn, on Tuesday, September 27th at 10 A.M.  Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to Calling hours, Tuesday, 8:30-9:45 a.m. PRIOR to John’s Funeral Mass in the Lynch-Cantillon Funeral Home, 263 Main Street, Woburn, MA 01801.  Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in John’s memory to The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, PO Box 91891, Washington, D.C. 20090.

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  1. The world has lost a great person. Jack’s family captured his amazing essence in his obituary. I will endearingly cherish but also tremendously miss the time with my colleague…and friend John “Jack” F. O’Brien, MSW, LICSW. Jack, my soul aches, but is also comforted by celebrating your spirit knowing that you have made a difference in so many lives… and in so many ways…including mine. So in the meantime Jack, enjoy your time with your family and friends who you now join including our friends and colleagues Dr. Walter Dybik and Dr. Jose Delgado. I look forward to the time of sharing more stories and lunches after I appear in the Irish sporting page. My kind & warmest regards to your family Jack.

  2. To my dear friend and colleague Mr. O’Brien as I would call you and you would smile shake your head and say- “please call me Jack”.
    Thank you for you never ending support and kindness throughout my career. I will never forget the talks and the limited advice you would give me. I feel honored to have known you and I also feel honored with the stories you shared of your family and the love you had for them. Please know I send my deepest sympathy and prayers to all of you that were fortunate enough to be part of Mr.O’Brien’s life.
    Thank you for letting me tell this story and to you “Jack” be at peace.
    Love, Susan Hood

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