James R. “Jim” O’Brien, Sr., 81 formally of Newport, RI, passed away peacefully at home in Englewood, FL on Tuesday, May 27, 2014. He was the loving husband of Margaret “Peggy” O’Brien. The youngest of 10 children, Jim was born November 1, 1932 in Providence, RI, son of the late John and Marion O’Brien.
Jim was a medic in the Air Force from 1952-1954. Upon returning home to Newport, he worked with his brothers at O’Brien Vending Machines. He owned Jim’s Market on the corner of Franklin Street for 5 years. He also worked for a short time at Raytheon before joining the Post Office in Newport as a letter carrier until his retirement in 2004 at age 71.
A longtime member of The Knights of Columbus, Council 256, Jim held the position of Credit Committee Chair for their Newport Columbian Federal Credit Union. He was also a member of the Newport Elks Club.
Jim loved sports and was an avid New York Yankees and Providence College Friars fan. He played softball for the Redmen, and coached P&M Boiler Makers of the Fifth Ward Little League before becoming an umpire. His favorite sport of all was basketball. Jim coached CYO Basketball and, after moving to Florida, he especially enjoyed coaching 5th and 6th grade basketball at the Englewood YMCA from 2010-2012, leading his team to two championship titles. He enjoyed his nights bowling in leagues at Aquidneck Lanes. He later took up golf and enjoyed working at both the Jamestown Country Club and the Pinemoor West Golf Club in Florida. Jim always looked forward to his annual dinners with childhood friends.
He is predeceased by his eldest daughter Kathleen O'Brien Franks.
Besides his wife of 56 years he leaves his daughters, Jane and husband Steve Perry, Juliann Bestoso and Brigid O'Brien, all of Newport, RI. He also leaves his sons, James and his wife Lisa O'Brien of Newport RI, Charles and his wife Sharon O'Brien of Freehold, NJ, John and his wife Karen O'Brien of Charleston, SC, and his son-in-law Thomas Franks of Middletown, RI.
He will be dearly missed by his 14 grandchildren, Brian, Meghan, Anna, Stevie, Danny, Charlie, Matthew, Rory, Alex, Kathleen, Chad, Nicholas, Johnny and Austin.
He also leaves his brother Edward O’Brien, sister-in-law Eileen O'Brien, brother-in-law Tony Vacchione, as well as many nieces and nephews.
He was the brother of the late John O’Brien, Johanna O’Brien, William O’Brien, Mary Antone, Frank O’Brien, Peggy Grinnell, Kathleen Crookes and Bonnie Vacchione.
Visiting hours will be held from 3-6 pm on Sunday, June 1st at the O'Neill-Hayes Funeral Home, 465 Spring Street in Newport, RI. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 am on Monday, June 2, 2014 at St Mary's Church in Newport, RI. Donations may be made in Jim’s name to the Visiting Nurse Services of Newport and Bristol Counties/ Hospice Program, PO Box 690 Portsmouth, RI 02871, or to the Wounded Warrior Project, PO Box 758517, Topeka, KS 66675.