“Gerry” Florence Geraldine McCarthy O’Brien, 99, of Sea Island, Ga., and formerly of Winnetka, Ill., passed away on Dec. 31, 2018.
Beloved wife of Robert J. O’Brien Sr. for nearly 72 years. Loving mother of Robert Jr. (Rita), Nancy (Richard) Kehoe, Susan Lodge, John (Patricia), the late James and Laurie (Joseph) Bauer. Proud Nana to 22 grandchildren, Robert III (Kim) O’Brien, Aimee (Ryan) Donovan, Sally O’Brien, Meaghan Maher, Michael (Sara) Smylie, Ben Barton (Elizabeth) Smylie, John Smylie, Mathew Smylie, James (Jodie) Smylie, Kathleen (Michael) Then, Colleen (Tony) Meyers, Laurie Ann (Robert) Hamman, Heather (Scott) Wojteczko, Kenneth Lodge, John (Theresa) O’Brien Jr., Therese O’Brien, Timothy (Ellen) O’Brien, Carmel O’Brien, Joseph (Kathleen) Bauer Jr., Madeline (Joseph) Chiczewski, Caroline Bauer and Matthew Bauer; and 25 great-grandchildren. Dear sister-in-law to Dr. William Marshall and Nancy McCarthy. She was preceded in death by her parents, Lenore and John V. McCarthy and siblings, Lenore Cox, John “Bud” V. McCarthy Jr. and Mary Marshall.
Gerry was raised in the South Shore neighborhood of Chicago, attended St. Philip Neri grammar school, and graduated from St. Xavier High School. After completing studies in 1941 with a degree in Speech/Drama from St. Mary-of-the-Woods College in Terra Haute, Ind., she taught speech and drama in the Chicago Public School system. However, her lifelong passion was writing and directing plays for her family and many neighborhood children.
She met the love of her life, Bob O’Brien, in 1944, and after a beautiful courtship they were married at St. Philip Neri Church on April 19, 1947. They honeymooned on Sea Island, Ga.; in 1978, they built their dream home there, where they eventually retired. “Lune de Miel” has provided countless memories for the family which they will forever cherish.
Gerry was a very active member in several parishes and communities starting with St. Philip Neri, where she was on many boards and committees, chairing quite a few. There she co-founded the St. Philip Neri Players Group, where they wrote and performed musicals for the community. In 1964, the family moved to Sacred Heart Parish in Winnetka, Ill., where she continued her involvement in parish and school activities. A few highlights were her induction into the Order of the Holy Sepulchre and Chairman of the Loyola Academy Ramble. By now she was quite legendary as the party planner of both the North and South Shore of Chicago.
Gerry did not slow down in her retirement years on Sea Island. She became an avid golfer, and at the age of 85 authored the best-selling book “The Heart of the South Shore.” She continued writing and directing plays, now starring her grandchildren. Gerry had many loves in addition to her husband, family and many friends: Chocolate, butter, ‘40s Big Band music, her Irish heritage, and the topper was on her 99th birthday when she became the proud mother of a puppy that she named “Snickers.”
Gerry, along with her husband Bob, are active and beloved members of their current parish, St. William Catholic Church, on St. Simons Island, Ga. In Gerry’s later years, she has been tenderly and lovingly cared for by the many wonderful nurses and personnel at “Lune de Miel.” The entire O’Brien family will be forever grateful for their kindness, love and attention to their mother.
Visitation will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019, until the time of the Funeral Mass at 3 p.m., at St. William Catholic Church, St. Simons Island.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. William Catholic Church, 2300 Frederica Road, St. Simons Island, GA 31522 and Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods 1 Sisters of Providence Road, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, IN 47876.