SALEM — Louis J. "Obie" O'Brien, age 82, of Salem, died at home Thursday evening, Jan. 22, 2009 surrounded by his loving family. He and his loving wife, Dorothy A. (Frye) O' Brien would have celebrated 63 years of marriage in June 2009.
Born in Salem the son of the late John F. and Rose (Pluff) O'Brien, he was educated in Salem elementary schools. Shortly after entering the Salem Vocational School, Mr. O'Brien entered the United States Navy during World War II. He was awarded the World War II Victory Medal, American Theater Medal, the European African Middle Eastern Medal with two stars and the Asiatic Pacific Medal with one star. Mr. O'Brien also received a Citation from the Flagship of the Commander of the Amphibious Forces United States Pacific Fleet "For excellent service in the line of his duty as a member of a damages control party aboard a USS Forester 461, which was a Destroyer/Minesweeper.
Following his discharge, he returned home, married his high school sweetheart and they began their family. Mr. O'Brien worked briefly for the former National Kerr Furniture Company in Salem until becoming employed by Versa Tanning Company in Peabody as the Forman of Maintenance. As the tanning factory changed ownership and names he remained in his position until it was closed by the JEC Tanning Company. Mr. O'Brien then was employed by the Essex Institute in Salem with the Buildings and Grounds team until retiring in 1988.
A Third Degree member of the Salem Knights of Columbus Veragua Council 76, Mr. O'Brien was very active at the Immaculate Conception Church establishing its 500 Club and Thrift Shop. He was also a member of the V.F.W Witch City Post 1524 in Salem. Mr. O'Brien enjoyed being at his home and doing projects with his family. He was an accomplished woodworker, having done much of his own carpentry as well as a gifted landscaper and gardener.