John "Jack" O'Brien Jr.

Obituary of John "Jack" Albert Francis O'Brien Jr.

John Albert Francis O’Brien Jr., or "Jack" to everyone who knew him, passed away on July 11, 2023. Jack had been ill for some time and finally succumbed to Stage 4 lung cancer at the age of 76. He will be greatly missed by his wife Christina, his two sisters, Pat and Michele, and four adult children, John, Michael, Alex and David.  

Jack was born in Martinsville, Virginia in 1946 at his mother’s childhood home. He grew up with a father in the Air Force, which meant he traveled the world as his family was moved from base to base. In 1962, his father was finally transferred from Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany to ENT Air Force Base in Colorado Springs. This is where Jack finally put down roots, and where he lived for the rest of his life.  

He attended Cheyenne Mountain High School, where he was an accomplished athlete on the baseball field, basketball court, and gridiron. He was a short stop for the Indians’ 1962 baseball team that won a state championship as well as garnering All Conference honors in basketball and football in his junior and senior years. Jack went on to a full scholarship in football at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, where he continued to excel. In his senior year, he was awarded the title of “All American” as a free safety, one of only a handful of athletes who have ever received that honor at UNC, and he is still enshrined in the school’s hall of fame. Later that same year, Jack signed as a free agent with the Denver Broncos, and later with the Miami Dolphins.  He was eventually cut from both teams, but the experience left an indelible impression on him.

Having said that, if you asked him what his greatest accomplishments were, he would always say his children. He cherished being a father and delighted in all of his children’s successes. In addition to his four children, he has eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild due in September. He loved nothing more than being surrounded by his family and having a deep discussion about life with a glass of Wild Turkey in his hand. 

In his later years, he also took up golf and became an instructor. He had a unique way of explaining things and particularly loved watching the light go on in his student’s eyes when he or she finally understood the concept he was trying to teach them about chipping or putting (his two favorite parts of the golf game). He also volunteered at local high schools to teach Junior Achievement. He probably missed his calling as a teacher because he enjoyed challenging young minds so much.  

Jack was a complicated man who lived life on his own terms. He never did anything in a conventional way and usually had a unique perspective that made you think. His favorite books were Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Atlas Shrugged, and The Prophet. Musically, he loved Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” and every Neil Diamond song ever recorded. His friends and family will remember him as a star athlete, husband and father who loved and lived life abundantly. 

Rest in peace Jack O.  

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