Evelyn Bowe O’Brien – Obituary

by Lynn McMillen
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EvelynEvelyn Bowe O’Brien died peacefully at home in Florence on Thursday, September 19, 2013. She was born on August 4, 1921 in Schenectady, New York. She graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in Business. Evelyn was one of only fourteen women hired by DuPont Chemical Company as junior engineers, and this was at a time when most companies did not hire women in professional positions.

Evelyn married Dr. Donald J. O’Brien in 1944 when he was a medical officer in the United States Army. Evelyn moved with Don and their family in 1949 to the Muscle Shoals area, where Evelyn helped him establish his orthopedic medical practice and served as his office manager throughout the years of his practice.

Although Evelyn relished her primary responsibility as being the best wife to her husband and best mother to her children, she reached out to help others. With her enthusiasm, her sense of responsibility, her dependability, her intelligence, and her wonderful sense of humor, she was a key participant in many activities outside her home. She was particularly involved in her church and her children’s schools. At St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Evelyn served as a lector, a religious education instructor, and chaired the parish’s campaign effort to purchase a new organ. She also served as President of the PTA at St Joseph School. In addition to this service, Evelyn became President of the Alabama Medical Alliance, which was the auxiliary to the Alabama Medical Association. In this position she traveled to every county in the state to visit and help improve the local chapters. Evelyn was a proud and active member of the Florence Junior League and particularly enjoyed dancing in the Junior League Follies to help raise money for projects of the Junior League.

Evelyn was an out-going and “fun” person to be around. With her boundless energy, she was one of the natural “go to” people if something had to be accomplished. Evelyn was simply the “glue” of the O’Brien family, and she was a loving and caring Grandmother to her seven grandchildren and to her five great-grandchildren. She particularly enjoyed organizing and hosting family vacation gatherings on the Gulf Coast. She was happiest when she was surrounded by her family. Evelyn will also always be remembered for her delight at listening to Willie Nelson songs playing on her car’s tape-deck as she drove her grandchildren around the Muscle Shoals area when they stayed with her and Don during the summer.

Evelyn was pre-deceased by two of her sons, John O’Brien and Dr. Jim O’Brien. She is survived by her husband of sixty-nine years, Dr. Donald J. O’Brien of Florence, her son, Joe O’Brien of Little Rock, Arkansas, her daughter, Mary Beth O’Brien Grady of Atlanta, Georgia, and her son, Walt O’Brien of Florence. She is also survived by her seven grandchildren and her 5 great-grandchildren, who will all miss her love and sparkling personality.

The funeral Mass will be held at St. Joseph Catholic Church on Monday, September 23, which would have been her sixty-ninth wedding anniversary, at 11:00 AM. The family will meet friends in the Church an hour before the Mass begins. The burial will follow the Mass at Greenview Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to Saint Joseph Catholic Church, 1111 E. College Street, Florence AL 35630.

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