Robert Francis O'Brien, Jr. of Shrewsbury, died Sunday November 9, 2014 at home. He was 71.
Bob was born July 5, 1943 in Worcester a son of the late Robert F. and Florence (Grigas) O'Brien. A 1961 graduate of St. John's High School in Worcester, he graduated from Dartmouth College in 1965.
A retired executive, Bob spent 25 years at Norton Company where he held multiple senior management positions, including Plant Manager of large grinding wheel production.
At St. John's, Bob was class president for four years and played football, basketball and baseball under coach Bob Devlin. He was all-City three times in football and once in basketball. On the football field, St. John's was undefeated in Bob's junior and senior seasons. He was a recipient of the Lincoln W. Stoddard award as Worcester's top high school football player and was presented the Francis X. Corsac award three times as the MVP of the annual Thanksgiving football game against St. Peter's played on Fitton Field at Holy Cross. Bob later returned to Fitton Field in college winning the Johnny Turco award as MVP of the Holy Cross homecoming game against Dartmouth.
At Dartmouth, Bob played football and lacrosse. He was a three-year starter in football and played on two Ivy League championship teams. Bob was a first team All-Ivy halfback on Dartmouth's undefeated 1965 football team which won the Lambert Trophy as the top Division One football team in the East. Additionally, Bob was twice named to the AP and UPI all-New England teams and was an honorable mention All-East selection. A slashing and darting runner, Bob was also an outstanding blocker and gifted receiver and punt returner. His coach at Dartmouth, Bob Blackman, once called Bob "pound for pound the best football player he had coached". A highly instinctive player, Bob honed his football skills at an early age running drills and watching films with the Clinton High football team which his father coached.
He was chosen as an inaugural member of the St. John's High Athletic Hall of Fame in 1989.
An avid card player, Bob's passion was always teaching sports to, and playing all types of games (especially wiffleball) with his children, grandchildren, and their friends. He rarely missed one of his son's athletic games from little league to college. Bob was a British sports car enthusiast and also gained much happiness from trips with his wife, Anne, to Ogunquit, Maine.
In addition to his parents, Bob (a Holy Cross football player in the 1930's) and Florence, he is predeceased in death by two sisters, Carole and Nancy, and a brother Paul.
Bob is survived by his wife of 47 years, Anne-Marie (Foley) O'Brien; his three sons, Robert Francis O'Brien III (Courtney) of Loudonville, NY, Tom O'Brien (Kellie) of Holden, MA, and David O'Brien of Philadelphia, PA; a brother, Richard O'Brien (Patricia) of Shrewsbury; four grandchildren, Jack, Patrick, Katie, and Grace; and many nieces and nephews.
Bob's family gathered privately to honor and remember his life at Heald & Chiampa Funeral Directors – The Sumner House, 5 Church Rd., On The Common, Shrewsbury Center. Burial was in Mountain View Cemetery. A public memorial ceremony is planned for December.
Memorials in Bob's name may be made to St. John's High School, Alumni Advancement Office, 378 Main Street, or St. Mary's Church, Building Campaign, 18 Summer Street, both Shrewsbury, MA 01545.
Thank you for your support during this difficult time.
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