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Bill O’Brien died on Monday, June 22, 2020, at the age of 90.


As a commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps and Company Commander in Korea he was recognized for his ability to accurately analyze situations and create possibilities for better results.


Thereafter, he became a banking officer for Chase Bank in NYC. In 1959, he married Josephine McFerran. Later, he moved to Louisville, KY as a marketing executive for the Brown & Williamson Corporation.


Educated at Lawrenceville School, ‘49 and Yale University, ‘53, Bill remained interested in and curious about ideas. Because he read about new ideas and dilemmas in world developments, it made him just informed enough to ask better questions with anyone he encountered. Bill had a keen sense of and appreciation for humor. This aspect also made him fun to be around.


For 30 years, Bill deeply enjoyed each of the four Michigan seasons. He walked out every day to experience them. He was most often in the field or forest with his beloved golden retriever, Lad. In fact, he took him along wherever he could.


His belief in God, self-reliance, and entrepreneurship, led to collaborative ventures later in life. He was president of Kiwanis Club of Harbor Springs, consultant for SCORE of the SBA, Holy Childhood parish council member, participant in local judicial mediation, and leader-advocate for Holy Childhood’s New Beginnings Resale.


His leadership, grace and genuine care for his family and those with whom he encountered will be missed.


Bill is survived by his wife, Jo; and two children, daughter, Josie and son, Edward (Marie), Montana.


A funeral Mass will be celebrated at Holy Childhood Catholic Church in Harbor Springs, MI, Wednesday, July 15 at 11 am. A lunch reception afterwards will be held at the Church parish hall.


To send a message of sympathy to the family, sign Bill’s online guest book, or to share a favorite memory, please visit:


Cremation arrangements are entrusted to Michigan Cremation & Funeral Care, Grand Rapids, (616) 452-3006, honored providers of Veterans Funeral Care.


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