Obituary for William "Bill" O'Brien Jr.
William J. "Bill" O'Brien, Jr., a lifelong resident of Enfield who wintered near his beloved Red Sox in Naples, FL for the last 20 years of his life, died on August 6. He was 92 years old. Born in Springfield, son of the late William and Helen (Fleming) O'Brien, he was a 1943 graduate of Enfield High School. Upon graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving until May 1946, including duty as a pharmacist’s mate on a minesweeper clearing Nagasaki Harbor after the cessation of hostilities. After his discharge from the Navy, Bill signed a contract with the Boston Red Sox to play professional baseball. He played in the farm systems of the Red Sox and the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1947 to 1951. After retiring from baseball, he continued his studies at St. Michael's College in Winooski, VT, graduating in 1952, and received his Masters in Education from American International College in Springfield in 1954. Bill was an educator in the Enfield public school system for almost 40 years. His first position was teaching social studies at Hazardville Memorial School. He became principal at Noah Webster Elementary School in 1959, and principal at Hazardville Memorial School in 1964. He remained principal at Hazardville Memorial until his retirement in 1988. After his retirement, Bill served two terms on the Enfield Board of Education. An active communicant of St. Patrick's Church, he taught CCD classes, was a eucharistic minister and lector, and was the first president of the parish council. Bill is survived by his wife of fifty-nine years, Mary T. (O'Neil) O'Brien, two sons and their wives, William J. O'Brien and Cynthia Ryan of South Salem, NY, and John E. O'Brien and Katherine Whittemore of Northampton, MA, a daughter and her husband, Mary Louise O'Brien and Ricardo Rodriguez of Madrid, Spain, a sister and her husband, Helen and Robert Cummings of Enfield, five grandchildren, Kevin O'Brien, Eve T. O'Brien, William W. O'Brien, John R. O'Brien, Therese H. "Tess" O'Brien, and a great-grandchild, Gabriel O'Brien. He was predeceased by a son, Joseph O'Brien, a brother, John F. "Jack" O'Brien, and a sister, Evelyn Trappe. The funeral will be Monday, August 14 at 9:00 a.m. from the Leete-Stevens Enfield Chapels, 61 South Road with a Mass in St. Patrick's Church at 10:00 a.m. Burial will follow in St. Patrick's King Street Cemetery. Calling hours are Sunday, August 13 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. The family wishes to thank the staff at Suffield House for its kindness in caring for Bill. Bill's family asks that donations in his memory be made to the Springfield Rescue Mission, 10 Mill Street, Springfield, MA 01108. For online condolences please visit www.leetestevens.com