John T. O’Brien

John T. O’Brien, 65, recently of Newark and previously of Ellicott City, Maryland, passed away peacefully on Monday, May 13, 2019 at Brandywine Nursing & Rehabilitation Center after several years of health struggles and decline.

John was born in Plainfield, NJ, the son of the late Nancy (Wodtke) and John Patrick “Pat” O’Brien. He was a graduate of Heidelberg College with a degree in English, a great love of the American novel and coffee in the Castle, and retired after 41 years in the insurance industry as a Director for MetLife Insurance Company. Though he found his way into the insurance industry by accident, he fostered tremendous respect and loyalty among his coworkers, employees and supervisors over a long and productive career.

John was a gifted essayist, a wonderful father and a great friend to many. He had the  exceptional ability to turn a group of strangers into friends, and was beloved by coworkers, friends and family alike.

John is survived by his children and their spouses, Katherine O’Brien and Erin Hanlon of Newark, and James and Dayna O’Brien of Cincinnati, OH; his granddaughter, Edith and brother and sister-in-law, Tim and Joanne O’Brien of East Hampton, NY and their children, Kevin (Tara), Curt (Jennifer) and Maral.

A memorial celebration will be scheduled at a later time.  Memorial contributions may be sent to the National Book Foundation at in honor of John’s lifetime love of reading and writing.


Submitted by Sue Ellen Dudlek on
So sorry to hear of your loss. I always enjoyed my time speaking with your father. Thinking of you. Xoxo

Submitted by Tom Smucker on
John was a great friend who will live eternally in my memories at Heidelberg and after. He served as my best man and had a very quick wit & infectious laugh. He was a devoted Dad & very proud of you children & your accomplishments. Im sorry that he physically won’t be in our lives , he will be missed but not forgotten.

Submitted by Christine Redmond on
I was so saddened to hear this news. I was blessed to work with John at Met. First as the Director, but more importantly, he became a very close friend. We shared an understanding of having a sensitive personality and I’ll always be grateful for his friendship. I will miss him, our email conversations, and his wonderful compassion and sense of humor.

Submitted by Jason Hammond on
Very sorry for your family's loss. John was more than a director to me, he was a good friend. He pushed me to do better and to seek out mentors to advance my career. I miss his management style and his hand written notes. God Bless you John, thank you for everything!

Submitted by Kathy Stitely on
Katie, James, Erin and Dayna: We are heart broken. But are comforted by knowing John is at peace and in a better place. Our love goes out to you. He was so very proud of you. And his love for you was apparent in all he did. Please know we were blessed by the years of friendship we shared with your father and the love he shared with us and our family. His interest in our children and their lives was always sincere and heart-felt. And it meant so very much to Brian and I. We will miss him dearly.

Submitted by Nancy C on
I am sorry to read of the passing of your father, brother, grandfather and friend, John. He will be missed indeed. Death is described in God's Word the Bible as being a common "enemy," of mankind as recorded at 1Corinthians 15:26. Sadly this enemy is one we as imperfect humans cannot defeat on our own. Lovingly Our Heavenly Father will do so as promised at Isaiah 25:8. He will accomplish this feat by means of his Kingdom in which we pray for in the Lord's Prayer. Once more I am sorry for your loss.

Submitted by Tammy Payne on
My heart goes out to you in your time of sorrow.

Submitted by Sam Abdallah on
Sorry for your loss and I with you and your family peace during this time.

Submitted by Kandy Mimande on
John was a great boss, an amazing friend, and a person I could confide in (and he, I). He loved his children, and despite never meeting them, I feel I know them just from conversations and celebrations John would lovingly share. I am a better person for knowing him, and the world is worse off for losing him. Bless you all, and I hope you find comfort in these condolences and memories of this great, loving, and caring human <3

Submitted by Laura Dillon on
I am so saddened to hear about the passing of John. Like many others, I worked with John and he taught me so much. What was apparent was how deeply he cared about people first and business second. The significance of this wasn't lost on me. John held his relationships with people sacred and it showed. I will never forget coming into work one day when he was visiting Warwick after a meeting we had had the day before. On my desk, there was a copy of "The Country Bunny" and a famous JOB handwritten note instead explaining what the book meant to him and how he hoped that I could enjoy it with my daughter, Lily. Every Easter, it's now a family tradition to read the book together. I will cherish that book even more now. I am so sorry for your loss. The world is a little darker today.

Submitted by Tina Farrell on
So sorry for your loss Katherine, Erin and family. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Submitted by Steve Niewinski on
I am very sorry to hear about the loss of your beloved Dad. He is finally in peace and smiling down upon you I'm sure.

Submitted by Debralee Divers on
I am so sorry to learn of John’s passing. He was a kind friend of mine at Heidelberg. Your families are in my thoughts and prayers. Rest In Peace, John.