James R. “Jim” O’Brien Sr., 81, formerly of Newport, R.I., passed away peacefully Tuesday, May 27, 2014, at home in Englewood, Fla.
The youngest of 10 children, Jim was born Nov. 1, 1932, in Providence, R.I., the son of John and Marion O’Brien.
He was the loving husband of Margaret “Peggy” O’Brien. Jim was a medic in the Air Force from 1952 to 1954. Upon returning home to Newport, he worked with his brothers at O’Brien Vending Machines. He owned Jim’s Market on the corner of Franklin Street for five years. He also worked for a short time at Raytheon, before joining the Post Office in Newport as a letter carrier, until his retirement in 2004 at age 71.
A longtime member of Knights of Columbus Council 256, Jim held the position of Credit Committee Chair for the Newport Columbian Federal Credit Union. He was also a member of the Newport Elks Club.
Jim loved sports and was an avid New York Yankees and Providence College Friars fan. He played softball for the Redmen, and coached P&M Boiler Makers of the Fifth Ward Little League before becoming an umpire. His favorite sport of all was basketball. He coached CYO Basketball and, after moving to Florida, he especially enjoyed coaching fifth- and sixth-grade basketball at the Englewood YMCA from 2010 to 2012, leading his team to two championship titles. Jim enjoyed his nights bowling in leagues at Aquidneck Lanes. He later took up golf, and enjoyed working at both the Jamestown Country Club and the Pinemoor West Golf Club in Florida. He always looked forward to his annual dinners with childhood friends.
Besides his wife of 56 years, Jim leaves his daughters, Jane (Steve) Perry, Juliann Bestoso and Brigid O’Brien, all of Newport; his sons, James (Lisa) O’Brien of Newport, Charles (Sharon) O’Brien of Freehold, N.J., and John (Karen) O’Brien of Charleston, S.C.; his son-in-law, Thomas Franks of Middletown, R.I.; his 14 grandchildren who will dearly miss him, Brian, Meghan, Anna, Stevie, Danny, Charlie, Matthew, Rory, Alex, Kathleen, Chad, Nicholas, Johnny and Austin; his brother, Edward O’Brien; sister-in-law, Eileen O’Brien; brother-in-law, Tony Vacchione; as well as many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his eldest daughter, Kathleen O’Brien Franks; siblings, John O’Brien, Johanna O’Brien, William O’Brien, Mary Antone, Frank O’Brien, Peggy Grinnell, Kathleen Crookes and Bonnie Vacchione; and his parents.
Visiting hours will be held from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, June 1, 2014, at O’Neill-Hayes Funeral home in Newport. The Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, June, 2, 2014, at St. Mary’s Church in Newport.