Robert E. O’Brien, age 92, of 125 East Broadway, Gettysburg, died Nov. 15, 2019, at SpiriTrust Lutheran, The Village at Luther Ridge, in Chambersburg, Pa.
He was born March 12, 1927, in Brooklyn, N.Y., son of the late Robert and Margaret (Powers) O’Brien. Mr. O’Brien was predeceased by his wife Patricia Cole O’Brien, in 2004.
He grew up in Bergen County, New Jersey, and graduated from Ridgefield Park High School in 1944. In high school, he participated in football, basketball, and baseball and was a member of the 1944 Ridgefield Park HS State Championship Basketball Team. During World War II, he served in the US Navy Air Corps.
He was a 1951 graduate of Gettysburg College, earning a BA in physics. At Gettysburg College he was president of the Physics Honor Society, co-captain of the basketball team, and a member of the Gettysburg College Honor Society and the SAE fraternity.
He worked for the Solid State Division of the RCA Corp. for 33 years, where he held various management positions including plant manager for Power Transistor Operations in Mountaintop, Pa. In addition, he was project manager of semiconductors for the MX Missile Guidance and Control System and project director for Technology Transfer Programs at Somerville, N.J.
He was formerly a member of the board of directors of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce, a director of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Industrial Fund, the Pennsylvania Economy League and the United Way of Wyoming Valley. He was also a member of the President’s Council of King’s College and the advisory board of Penn State Wilkes-Barre.
After retiring to Gettysburg, he acted as a volunteer at Gettysburg College for the Orange and Blue Athletic Advisory Council, Alumni Association Executive Board, Commission on the Future and several other committees. In addition, he was treasurer and vice president of the Gettysburg College County (Adams) Alumni Association and was class (1951) correspondent for many years. He was selected to the Gettysburg College Hall of Athletic Honor and was given a Meritorious Service Award by Gettysburg College.
During retirement, he often attended lectures and other athletic and cultural events at the college. He was a member of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Gettysburg, Albert J. Lentz American Legion Post 202, Catholic War Veterans Post 1342, the Gettysburg Lions Club, and the Good Samaritan Camping Club. He also served on the Finance Committee of the Gettysburg Fire Department and the board of the Adams County Library System.
His family was the most important part of his life and he was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather to all. His presence will be sorely missed by his family and friends.
He is survived by five daughters, Anne M. Kupstas and her husband Charles of Crofton, Maryland, Carolyn L. Austin and her husband Henry of Dallas, Texas, Eileen M. Chunko of Plainsboro, N.J., Catherine E. Pace and her husband Ronald of Gladstone, N.J., and Susan E. Wagner of Bedminster, N.J.; 12 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by four sisters, Anna Marie Shanley, Claire Purdy, Dorothy Trosper, and Jean Marren.
A viewing will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. on Nov. 21, 2019, at Monahan Funeral Home at 125 Carlisle St., Gettysburg. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m. on Nov. 22, 2019, at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, 45 W. High St., Gettysburg, with Father Andrew St. Hilaire as celebrant. Interment will be in St. Ignatius Cemetery in Buchanan Valley.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The Robert E. O’Brien ’51 Summer Research Fund in Physics at Gettysburg College or a charity of your choice.
Online tributes and condolences can be made at monahanfuneralhome.com.