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James William O'Brien

August 20, 1930 ~ April 2, 2018 (age 87)
Obituary Image

O'BRIEN, James William (Bill)  passed away on April 2, 2018, in Fairfield, Ohio. 

He was born Aug. 20, 1930, to Thomas Daniel and Mayme Lockhart O'Brien in St. Louis, Mo.

His family moved to a farm in Shelbina, Mo., when he was a small child.  It was here that he met the love of his life and married his high school sweetheart, Betty Maxine Fry, on Dec. 25, 1949.  She survives him.

He is the loving father of George (Mary) O'Brien, Diane (Rick) Shaffer, Lesa (Rick) Kathman, and Linda (Antonio) del Valle; grandfather of Peggy O'Brien, Michael (April) O'Brien, Katie (Corey) Fagin, Matthew England, Sarah (Jeremy Daniels), Anna Kathman, Vanessa (Matt) Kiepura, Adriana (John) Hummel and Isaac del Valle; great grandfather of MacKenzie, Madelyn, Tyler and Lucas O'Brien, Connor, Cohen and Kinley Fagin, Paisley and Matthew James Daniels, Elena Kiepura and baby Hummel and step grandchildren Aiden and Henry Daniels and Alex and Troy Kathman.

He will be greatly missed by his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren as well as many nieces and nephews and a host of other family members and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Thomas Daniel and his grandson Matthew England.

Our father loved music, basketball, golf, dancing and people.  His brother, Tom, taught him to twirl and while in high school he won the 1945, 46, 47 and 48 regional and state champion twirling competitions (he was always twirling the broom sticks at home).  He was also captain of his 1947 football team and his 1947 and 48 basketball team.  He loved refereeing football and basketball and coached elementary basketball for 9 years in Quincy, Bloomington and Peoria, Ill.  He sang in the church choirs in all the cities he lived and was a member of the Knights of Columbus and a lifetime member of the Elks.  He traveled extensively with his career and kept a log of all the churches he attended and golf courses he played.  He taught himself to play piano and loved to sing and play at gatherings in their home.  He and his wife loved dancing together and also enjoyed clogging in the Altanta area. 

He went to work for Combined Insurance Co. of America in June of 1950 making sales calls across 19 counties of northeast Missouri -- he did not own a car -- but was innovative and successful.  From 1956 to 1981 he went to work for Western Adjustment and Inspection Co. (GAB) living in Hannibal, Mo., Quincy, Bloomington, Peoria Ill., Cincinnati, Oh., and eventually settling in Atlanta, Ga.  In 1984 he joined AIG Aviation as Executive VP and was promoted to President of the Claims group.  He was head of the worldwide Aviation Arbitration Board for several years and stayed with AIG until his retirement in 1997.  During his retirement he wrote a book of anecdotal stories about his 47-year career of settling insurance claims titled T'aint Covered. 

A celebration of Bill's life and funeral mass will be held at St. Brigid Catholic Church, 3400 Old Alabama Road, Alpharetta, Ga., at 11 a.m. on Monday, May 7.  

There will also be a celebration and service to be announced at a later date at St. Mary Church, 307 E. Chestnut Street, Shelbina, Mo. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Mary's Catholic Church, Stained Glass Project, 307 Chestnut Street, Shelbina, MO  63468. 

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