March 9, 2023
Jim O'Brien, Boston College football Hall of Fame member, has died March 1 at 84. Funeral services were held March 7 in South Weymouth
Mr. James S. O’Brien, of Lowell, formerly of Scituate, died March 1, 2023. He was 84.
Jim was born on October 20, 1938 in New Haven, Connecticut. He grew up in Hamden. Hamden High school is where his lifelong passion for football began.
Jim attended Boston College on a full football scholarship. While there, he was a college All-American and was selected to play in the Optimist All-American Game and the Copper Bowl. He graduated in 1960 with a degree in business. It was here that he met many friends that would last a lifetime.
He had a professional career playing defensive tackle for the Detroit Lions and the Buffalo Bills which was cut short due to injury.
After college, he married his high school sweetheart, Penny (Carlson) O’Brien. They were married for 42 years and had two children, Kevin and Tracy.
The family moved to Scituate, Massachusetts, his sister Joyce and her family soon followed. He enjoyed having his sister close by and spending many holidays with both families together.
In the late 1960’s he started the class ring and diploma company, O’Brien and Johnson.
After many trips to Ireland, he had an idea to bring American football to the Emerald Isle.
His dream was realized in 1988 when he brought thousands of Americans to Dublin to watch “The Match” between Army and Boston College. This was known as the Emerald Isle Classic.
He was later recognized for his college athletic achievements and inducted into the Boston College Hall of Fame.
In the following years, he worked with many organizations including the Irish Chamber of Commerce and The Special Olympics.
Jim enjoyed many passions including skiing, tennis, golf and being close to the ocean. After retiring, he moved to Lowell with his partner, Niki Tsongas. Jim and Niki loved spending time in Chatham and Ireland.
He loved his family dearly. Jim was the loving father of Kevin B. O’Brien and his wife, Michele, of Sandwich and Tracy Foulsham and her husband, Paul, of Weymouth. Partner of Nicola “Niki” Tsongas of Lowell. Former husband of Millicent “Penny” O’Brien of Hull. Brother of the late Joyce Sheehan of Scituate. Papa of Kelsey, Julia and Michael Foulsham, Kyle and Molly O’Brien.
He was loved by Niki’s children and their spouses: Ashley Tsongas and her wife Maura Camosse Tsongas of Sharon, Katina Tsongas and her husband Paul O’Keefe of Sharon and Molly Tsongas and her wife Amy Wilder of Chatham. He became affectionately known as “Jim Jim” to their children, Declan Tsongas, Nina Tsongas, Niko O’Keefe, Callum O’Keefe and Mae Wilder.
Dad, we hope you are watching over us all. We find peace in knowing you have reunited with your family and friends and are enjoying the sun and fresh ocean breeze. We can only imagine the number of tennis balls you have already thrown to Molson. We love and miss you.
Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to greet the family during the visiting hours on Tuesday, March 7, 2023 from 5-8 PM in the McDonald Keohane Funeral Home SOUTH WEYMOUTH at 809 Main Street (Rte 18 opp. So. Shore Hospital).
Funeral services will be celebrated on Wednesday, March 8, 2023 at 10 AM in McDonald Keohane Funeral Home. Burial in Saint John’s Cemetery, Middletown, CT.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Special Olympics Massachusetts, 512 Forest Street, Marlborough, MA 01752
(Published at the McDonald Keohane Funeral Home book of condolensces.)
The death notice below was published March 2 in the Patriot Ledger
O’Brien, James S. of Lowell, formerly of Scituate, died March 1, 2023. He was 84. Loving father of Kevin B. O’Brien and his wife, Michele, of Sandwich and Tracy Foulsham and her husband, Paul, of Weymouth. Longtime partner of Nicola “Niki” Tsongas of Lowell. Former husband of Millicent “Penny” O’Brien of Hull. Brother of the late Joyce Sheehan. Papa of Kelsey, Julia, Michael, Kyle, and Molly. Jim -Jim to Declan, Nina, Niko, Callum, and Mae. Also survived by several nieces and nephews. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to greet the family during the visiting hours on Tuesday March 7, 2023 from 5-8 PM in the McDonald Keohane Funeral Home SOUTH WEYMOUTH at 809 Main Street (Rte 18 opp. So. Shore Hospital). Funeral services will be celebrated on Wednesday March 8, 2023 at 10 AM in McDonald Keohane Funeral Home. Burial in Saint John's Cemetery, Middletown, CT. See www.Keohane.com for online condolences