Joseph P. O'Brien

On April 8, 2021, my dad, Maj. (Ret) Joseph O’Brien, USAFA Class of '75, surrounded by his family and love in his home, was finally able to rest after a hard-fought battle against a glioblastoma. He was not ready, nor was our family, but in true JPOB (O’Brien) fashion, he was more worried about those he loved being taken care of than himself. He maintained his humor, his spirit and his ever-present gift of the spoken word.

It is difficult to sum up everything that was and will always be my dad in one page. He had an infectious laugh, was always the life of the party and was affectionately referred to in the family as the cruise director. Dad made it a point to ensure everyone around him had a full belly, a full drink and a full laugh. His four grandchildren, Jade and Chase Henderson, and Cage and Joseph Parent, were adored by their Grumpy. If they were with Grumpy, they always knew they were going to have their most excellent adventure. From Easter egg hunts to Christmas celebrations, Grumpy ensured laughter and love were abundant.

My sister, Sueanna Henderson, and I, Sarah O’Brien, are now tasked with maintaining his legacy, one that we do not take lightly. He raised us to be strong, independent and loving women. The example he set is one that will be hard to match, but that we look forward to tackling. We walk the road he paved for us with integrity, always trying to do the right thing, even when no one is looking, and making sure those around us feel loved and adored.

None of this we have been blessed with would be possible without Dad’s one true love, his wife of more than 45 years, Katy. When he looked at her, anyone around could feel the love and adoration beaming from Dad. Each day they set the example of what a partnership looks like and how love creates a home.

Just as they were getting to enjoy the retired life in Texas with their dog Sissy, life took a turn, and the devastating diagnosis was given. Even as he was facing death, Dad made sure everyone he ever loved and cared about knew his feelings. The holiday season of 2020 was one for the books and such a blessing to have enjoyed, all because of Dad’s larger-than-life love and laughter.

Sara O’Brien, Joseph’s daughter  |  September 2021



Mike MageeWe just lost another Classmate this morning (8 April 2021). My friend, Joseph Patrick O’Brien, from CS-22 & fellow C-141 pusher from our CHS days, passed away early this morning at his home in Waco, TX. His wife of 45 years, Katy, just informed me and he was also with one of his two daughters, Sarah.



Photographs and Memories




Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, San Antonio, Texas