Richard Joseph O’Brien passed away peacefully on Feb. 19, 2018. He was profoundly spiritual and deeply empathetic with a great concern for others. He was a loving father and husband and a proud Marine. Richard was born in Northampton, MA in 1933, the son of Earl F. and Josephine O’Brien. He graduated from St. Michael’s High School in Northampton in 1950 and attended Saint Anselm’s College before joining the U. S. Marine Corps in 1953. He finished his education on an NROTC scholarship at the University of Mississippi, graduating with a BA in History in 1956, when he was also commissioned as a 2nd Lt. in the USMC.
While stationed in Hawaii, Richard met the love of his life, Judy Jones, on Waikiki Beach in the summer of 1958. They married in December, 1958 and the first of their children was born in Hawaii in October, 1959. As a Marine family, they were transferred often and traveled widely, while raising six children. Richard was sent to the Department of Defense Language School to learn Vietnamese and served several tours in Vietnam. He rose steadily through the ranks to Lt. Colonel, and was also active in the Marine Corps League (a veterans organization), serving as its National Commandant in 1974-75.
Richard retired from the Marines in 1978 after 26 years of service, and returned to his hometown, Northampton, MA where he enrolled at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He graduated in 1981 with an MPA (Masters in Public Administration). Richard and Judy moved to Paso Robles in 1986 to be with Judy’s parents, Maxine and Carl Ludeman. Richard began a second career there as an insurance agent with Van Beurden Insurance, retiring in 2002. Dick and Judy remained on the Central Coast, and four of their six children and their families also reside on the Central Coast; their eldest son Richard lives in Richmond, VA with his family, and their second eldest son Daniel lives in Port Townsend, WA with his family.
Richard was pre-deceased by his wife Judy and two grandchildren, Alexandra O’Brien and Nikolai Star. Richard is survived by his children: Richard O’Brien II (Val), Daniel O’Brien (Bruce Loefﬂer), Debra Star (Pete), Maryann Stansﬁeld (Bill), Sean O’Brien (Dana) and Amy O’Brien (Rob Sullivan); and by eight grandchildren: Kevin, Michael and Eric O’Brien; Owen and Maxine Stanley (Salim Elmahmoud); Sean and Katie O’Brien; and Jesse Robinson.
There will be a vigil service and Recitation of the Rosary Monday, Feb. 26 at 6 pm, and a funeral Mass Tuesday, Feb. 27 at 10:30 a.m., both at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Cayucos. Burial will follow at Cayucos Morro Bay Cemetery with military honors. A reception will be held at St. Joseph’s following the burial.