George Francis O’Brien, age 89, died peacefully on March 21, 2022. at Beehive Homes of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. He had been living in Wisconsin since December 2019.
George was born on March 30, 1932, in Travis, Staten Island, New York. He had a wonderful childhood, playing with and mentoring cousins and friends. He learned a hard work ethic at home on the family ‘farm.” George served as an altar boy at St. Anthony’s Church where he mentored younger cousins and friends to become servers.
George graduated high school a year early. He later enlisted in the US Air Force and completed boot camp at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. He attended business school in Chillicothe, Missouri. While on active duty from 1951-1955, he was part of Project Ivy; he and other airmen were privy to testing of the H bomb on a small islet in the Marshall Islands. George achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant.
George married Cecelia “Sally” Kaufmann on July 11, 1953. They relocated often throughout his USAF service and career as a businessman. They enjoyed nearly 64 years of love, happiness, and adventures together. George enjoyed watching and playing baseball, softball, and other sports. He was also an avid golfer through his adult life. George and Sally were diehard Chicago Cubs fans and enjoyed watching the Bears, as well. He was positive, gregarious, and friendly to all he met.
After his service, George attended Pace College. He began his career at DC Andrews in New York City. After a few moves, he ended up in Chicago, working for other freight transportation companies. George and Sally adopted and raised their only child, daughter Lynda (Lynn) mostly in Naperville, IL. George traveled all over the world during his career. He purchased the last company, Greene Companies International, which he sold in 1983 when he retired. George and Sally enjoyed living on Lake Delavan, WI (as snowbirds) for a few years and then spent 30 years in Lake Suzy, Florida.
George is survived by his daughter, Lynda (Michael) Mattison; grandchildren, Ryan (Trista) Mattison, Kevin (fiancée Emily) Mattison, Katie (Jake) Mitchell and Tyler Mattison (Allison Kaiser); along with seven great-grandchildren. George is also survived by cousins, Frank (Pat) Roncskevitz and Ken (Arlene) Roncskevitz who grew up next door in Travis, Staten Island; and other family and friends.
George was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Sally; his parents, Robert and Mary (Roncskevitz) O'Brien; his sister, Florence (O’Brien) Romano; and brother-in-law, Joseph Romano.
A Memorial Mass will be at 11 a.m. on Friday, May 13, 2022, at Holy Ghost Catholic Church in Chippewa Falls, with a visitation one hour prior to Mass at church. George’s ashes will be transported to Port Charlotte, FL They will be put in the Memorial Garden at San Antonio Catholic Church where wife Sally’s ashes were buried.
The recording of the Memorial Mass will be available shortly after the Mass is concluded.