Welcome to the memorial page for

John O'Brien, Jr.

August 22, 1927 ~ April 21, 2021 (age 93)

John J. O’Brien, Jr., 93, of Swansea, IL, born August 22, 1927, in East St. Louis, IL, passed away on April 21, 2021.

Mr. O’Brien graduated from St. Patrick’s Grade School and Central Catholic High School in East St. Louis.  He received Bachelor and Master’s Degrees from St. Louis University.  He was a Teacher, Coach, Athletic Director, Department Chairman (Social Studies), and Vice Principal at Assumption High School from 1953 to1973.  He also served as Principal of Althoff Catholic High School in Belleville from 1973 to 1990. 

Mr. O’Brien honorably served in the United States Navy in 1945 -1946 and in the United States Army with the Second Infantry Division from 1950-1952 during the Korean War. He was a member of VFW Post 1739 and the Knights of Columbus Council 592.  Mr. O’Brien was a past member of the Illinois Principal’s Secondary Schools Association, Belleville Optimist Club, served on the Board of the Belleville Chamber of Commerce, past President of Our Lady of Assumption Grade School Board, and served on the Board of Directors of the Catholic and Community Credit Union. 

Mr. O’Brien was preceded in death by his wife of 32 years, Virginia, nee McGovern O’Brien;  his parents, John J. and Marie, nee Brinkmann O’Brien, Sr.; sisters, Marie Null and Carolyn Leiner; brothers, Robert O’Brien, and Richard O’Brien; brothers-in-law, Harvey Null, Robert Leiner, and Mike Burns; sister-in-law, Mary Anita O’Brien; and niece, Lisa Marie Mattix.

Mr. O’Brien is survived by his sister, Sharon, nee O’Brien Burns of Ponte Vedra Beach, FL; sister-in-law, MaryLou, nee Krivanik O’Brien of Plantation, FL; and 23 loving nieces and nephews.

John O’Brien was an honorable, devout, loyal, and caring person to whom family and friends meant everything.  He also had a significant impact on the lives of many young people and co-workers throughout his exemplary career as an educator, coach, and administrator.  His dedication and love for family will forever be remembered.

Donations may be made to the Scholarship Fund at Althoff Catholic High School, 5401 W. Main St., Belleville, IL 62226 in John’s honor.

Private family services will be held.


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