John James OBrien

John James OBrien

John James OBrien, 88, of Rush City, Minn., passed away peacefully surrounded by his family Monday, Dec. 30, 2013, at Golden Living Center of Rush City
John was born May 7, 1925, in Eckelson, N.D. to Celia Hoffart and James OBrien. After graduating from Eckelson High School, he chose to serve his country in the U.S. Navy during World War II. After his military duty, he graduated from Valley City Teachers College. John was united in marriage with Mary Ruth Warnemunde at the Basillica of St. Mary in Minneapolis Jan. 27, 1951. Together they had seven children.
John enjoyed his career as a teacher. He taught history and geography at Rush City High School for 33 years, retired in 1987 and continued to substitute teach after retirement. During the summer months he enjoyed working at Cambridge State Hospital and various summer camps. John was also a mentor on the personal level, teaching all who knew him about discipline, patience, and above all, kindness of heart.
John loved to learn. His work with two-way radio during World War II created a lifetime passion as a Ham radio operator, communicating worldwide under the call name KODEH. His interest in geography led to many memorable family vacations including visits to all 50 states and all Canadian provinces. Visiting Ireland to explore their heritage was a highlight of John and Marys adventures.
John was an avid sports fan. He attended the Minnesota State Boys Basketball tournament for 58 consecutive years. John was a fixture at Rush City athletic events as a football cameraman, basketball scorekeeper and pole vault official at track meets. In 2011, John was recognized for his many years of dedicated service by receiving the Wayne Peshia Athletic Service Award. He was especially fond of following his grandchildrens sporting events.
Johns leisure activities included fishing, participating in bowling leagues and cooking. Johns Grandpa Bars and his fudge were highly regarded by his friends and family. He was actively involved in community organizations volunteering with Knights of Columbus, delivering Meals on Wheels, and as Commander of the Honor Guard for the VFW.
John is survived by his five children: Michael (Beth) OBrien, of Fordville, N.D., Tim (Kristi) OBrien, of Bemidji, Minn., Maureen (Brad) Johnson, of Walker, Minn., Colleen (Tim) Holland, of Cambridge, Minn., and Kevin (Colleen) OBrien, of Amery, Wis.; grandchildren: Jasmine(Josh) Backstrom, Johnathan OBrien, Sarah OBrien, David (Sarah) Mell, Daniel (Courtney) Mell, and Ashley Mell, Dominick Loud, Travis Johnson, Brett Johnson, Tracy (Asher) Judd, Cassandra Holland, Preston Holland, Patrick OBrien, Kelly OBrien, Joseph OBrien; great grandchildren: Michael, Johnathan, and EmmyLou Mell, Alexa Judd, and Danny Mell.
Johns loving wife, Mary Ruth Warnemunde OBrien, preceded him in death by merely two weeks. John was also preceded in death by his parents, James and Celia (Hoffart) OBrien, sisters: Lorraine Chapman, Berniece OBrien and Kathy Ziegeweid; children: Patrick James OBrien and Kathleen Mary OBrien Mell, granddaughter Trisha Swanson and great-granddaughter Alivia Judd.
Father Ralph Huar will celebrate a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 4 with visitation one hour prior at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Rush City. Casket bearers were: Johnathan OBrien, David Mell, Daniel Mell, Travis Johnson, Brett Johnson, Preston Holland, Patrick OBrien, Joe OBrien. Military honors were provided by the Grothe Jacobson VFW Post #6692 and the Minnesota National Guard.
A spring interment is planned in LeCenter, Minnesota.
Funeral arrangements were entrusted to the Funeral and Cremation Service of Rush City Olson Chapel. www.funeralandcremationservice.com

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