Stephen Michael O'Brien

Born in Bronx, NY on May 15, 1946

Departed on January 30, 2014 and resided in Nashville, TN

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O’Brien, Stephen Michael – Age 67 years, a resident of Staten Island, NY, and Nashville, TN, was received into heaven on Thursday, January 30, 2014, surrounded by his family. He received his Ph.D. in comparative literature, The Graduate School of University Center of The City University of New York, in February 2008. Stephen was a parishioner of St. Henry Church. He is preceded in death by his parents, Bill and Lil O’Brien; nephew, Luke Francis McKeon. Survived by loving sisters, Eileen Ann O’Brien, Kathleen (Frank) McKeon, and Betty (Bill) de Felice, and numerous nieces, nephews, and great nieces and nephews. The Funeral Mass will be on Tuesday, February 4, 2014, at 10am, at St. Henry Church, 6401 Harding Rd. with Interment following at Harpeth Hills Memory Gardens. Family will serve as pallbearers. In lieu of flowers, memorials are encouraged to Visitation will be on Monday from 1-7pm at West Harpeth Funeral Home. Mr. O’Brien will be known as a lifelong defender of the Faith, the unborn; committed advocate for social justice and world peace. WEST HARPETH FUNERAL HOME, 6962 Charlotte Pike; 352-9400

14 Comments to Mr. Stephen Michael O'Brien

  1. Ron Wencer
    February 1, 2014 2:46 pm

    Stephen, I pray that you have found the lasting peace which your time with us has earned you. I’m far the better person for having known you all these years.

  2. Jim Bell
    February 2, 2014 7:27 am

    Stephen, it has been my privilege and pleasure to know you, to converse with you, and to learn from you. Your steadfast devotion to the Catholic faith afforded all those who knew you an example to emulate. May the Lord grant you that eternal reward in which you so profoundly believed. So long, Dear Friend. – Jim

  3. Larry LaMarca
    February 2, 2014 11:29 am

    [Posted on the Stephen M. O’Brien facbook page on Saturday, February 1, 2014]

    In Memoriam: Stephen M. O’Brien

    Along with his family and other personal friends, I mourn the sudden passing of Steve O’Brien. This kind, gentle, and deeply religious Roman Catholic man was one of the most devout Christians we could ever meet.

    Some who are now reading this remembrance may only have known Steve O’Brien through the numerous dialogs and postings he maintained on his Facebook page, where so many, many of his offerings focused on the goal of providing a charitable but forthright advocacy and defense of The Faith. That alone would be enough for many of his “Facebook friends and acquaintances” to have recognized that Steve took to heart the words found in chapter 1 of James:

    “Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves. / For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his own face in a mirror. / He sees himself, then goes off and promptly forgets what he looked like. / But the one who peers into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres, and is not a hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, such a one shall be blessed in what he does . . . . / Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”

    For, in an era of aggressive secularism, Steve obviously saw the forum he maintained on Facebook to be one of the ways in which he could be an active “doer” of the word and not merely a passive “hearer.” That “page” constituted one of his major efforts in recent years to fulfill what he saw as his duty as a Christian and a Catholic to “keep, spread, and defend the Faith” (a phrase, by the way, which he customarily used to close his personal letters and emails).

    However, with no desire to engage in hyperbole, I would go even a little further to suggest that although Steve was a never-married layman, his devotion and fidelity to the Church were priestly in many ways; in fact, in some respects his efforts on Facebook and in several other frequent activities in his life were very close to Apostolic in nature; for his sense of duty as a servant of the Lord appears to have inspired him to find a humble but proactive way of his very own to respond to the charge Jesus makes in Matthew:

    “Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”

    I should stress, though, that Steve’s commitment to his faith was certainly not limited to the forum he maintained on Facebook; for his daily life was constantly arranged around “in-person” activities related to faith and charity. To cite just a few quick examples: as a city (Staten Island)-dweller who did not have a car, Steve would sometimes make long, meandering trips via public transportation systems to participate in protest demonstrations against legal abortion, to pray the Rosary in front of an abortion clinic, to lobby against other politically established policies he believed in his faith-inspired heart to be immoral–also acts of pure charity, such as giving comfort to those who had just lost a loved one, or counsel to a friend in need of assistance or guidance of some kind.

    I honestly do not believe Steve felt anything but Christian love for anyone. In the years that it was my privilege to know him, I can truthfully say that I never heard him speak with hate in his words (or even in his tone of voice) about anyone. Not only did he never once speak in my presence with malice towards those who aggressively supported practices that he considered immoral; but even his responses to those who might have caused him personal grief were, not to express hatred for them, but to pray for them, and to urge others to pray for them, too. To the best of my knowledge, there just was no “hate” in the man. His devout, passionate commitment to moral rectitude was always quite remarkably, consistently matched and balanced by his profound sense of Christian charity.

    So, yes–it was a privilege and an honor to have gotten to know Steve and to have been blessed to be one of his personal friends. But I wish to assure those of you who may only have gotten to know Steve through his Facebook page that the faith, the idealism, and the moral intensity you saw there in his posts were neither an affectation nor a misleading indicator of the man in any way–that those of us who were among his personal friends know from experience that those qualities seen in his Facebook page were not mere rhetoric; rather, Steve O’Brien literally WAS the devout man of Faith his Facebook persona suggests.

    We who personally knew Steve now are struggling with our grief over his passing; and, of course, we will pray for him as we pray for all of the faithful departed; however, I think I speak for most if not all of his personal friends when I say that we cannot help surmising that Steve is now experiencing a joy that surpasses all understanding, particularly when we reflect on the words of Matthew’s parable which our dear Steve surely heard addressed to him as he stood before his Maker:

    “Well done, good and faithful servant; because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will place thee over many things. Enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”

    –With affectionate remembrance,

    (Lawrence L. LaMarca)

    • Eileen Ann O'Brien
      February 2, 2014 12:10 pm

      You have so accurately captured Stephen’s personality and character. This is beautiful. You know, of course, it would have embarrassed him because he was such a modest man! We miss him terribly. Eileen

    • Mildred & Bob Mahoney
      February 3, 2014 11:16 am

      Yes, I do believe that you have summed up Steve’s nature. He was truly a son of God, brother of Jesus. I will miss him.
      Mildred Mahoney

    • Ruben Obregon
      February 4, 2014 9:35 am

      I remember Steve called himself the “last person in Staten Island” without a car.. Never stopped him from meeting up for coffee, dinner, etc..

  4. Eileen Ann O'Brien
    February 2, 2014 12:05 pm

    My brother Stepen was my best friend. All of my childhood memories of him are happy. He often made me laugh and on some occasions we cried. We had disagreements sometimes but he never made it personal. His kindness and compassion for others was absolutely amazing. He never held a grudge and always forgave anyone who hurt him in any way. His passion to support the Pro-life movement was so admirable. For years he was involved in Pro-life protests to protect the most vulnerable- the unborn. Yet he actively supported so many programs to assist the poor and homeless as well. He was truly actively doing the work of Christ here on earth. I am devastated that he is gone from my life but he will live forever in my heart. I really believe his death is not a punishment but rather God has said it is time to reward this gentle soul for all his works of goodness and mercy. He is with God now in Heaven. He is safe.I no longer have to worry about him.

  5. Mildred & Bob Mahoney
    February 3, 2014 11:10 am

    I have know Steve for many years. He was truly the most amazing man. Always hungry to learn something new in life. He made time in his life for all sorts of interest. He was the only one among our group of friends willing to travel alone around the world, and trust that he would meet interesting people. His understanding of human needs and his love of God’s children made him a pleasure to know. We spent many an hour at work on pro-life issues, as well as doing the many other things that round out a complete life. I am glad to call him a friend, I will miss him.

    Mildred Mahoney

  6. George Sachs
    February 3, 2014 6:33 pm

    Stephen and I became friends at Hicksville Junior High School on Long Island. We shared two major interests — politics and religion. I was Jewish, he was Catholic, of course; and due largely to him, I converted to the Faith during college. He attended my baptism and, I think, confirmation. That was the last time I communicated him, and we did not stay in touch, for which I hold myself responsible. Too his family I say, I am deeply saddened by Stephen’s loss. We all must depart, but 67 is all too young. Stephen was an very kind, friendly, intelligent, devoted, and faithful individual. I respectfully express my condolences.

  7. Christine Sacchi
    February 3, 2014 9:09 pm

    I miss you, Steve. There were so many times we worked on pro-life projects but also times when you came to the Sacchi home to be part of my family’s life as my friend and our friend. I am a better person for having known you. The kind interest you took in introducing me to great books and discussing them with me is a highlight of my life and a gift that continues to confer benefits Your godson Matthew has all the gifts you sent him over the years but the best gift was knowing that you were faithful to Our Lord through His church. I don’t want to say good-bye so I will say please pray for me to be able to join you.

  8. Mary McBrien Nasta
    February 3, 2014 9:30 pm

    Steve was a gentleman. His kindness, goodness, intellectual curiosity, sincere interest in others made him a pleasure to be with, always. He worked unstintingly for the causes he believed in, particularly in defense of the unborn. I admire the way he lived so very much, he lived his Faith. God bless you, Steve, I will pray for you, even though I suspect the souls of the unborn have ushered you into heaven.

  9. Ruben
    February 3, 2014 10:45 pm

    I miss you Steve.. We had so many good times my old friend… Say a prayer for me in heaven.. One of the few people I can say that I believe they finished the race and are enjoying their eternal reward..

  10. Kevin McKeon
    February 4, 2014 11:19 am

    Our condolences to Kate,Eileen,Betty and entire O’Brien family. It was always a pleasure to be around Steven and to talk with him on any occasion (family gatherings, eating with him at his favorite Hometown Buffet in SI).He was a true gentlemen ( thoughtful,caring and extremely respectful). RIP Steve…You will be missed!

  11. Tom Smith
    February 4, 2014 10:19 pm

    We have all lost a dear friend. Steve was a scholar and an idealist, a man devoted to the Catholic Church, to the protection of life, and to the creation of a just society. He was a gentle man whose conversation was always stimulating. As we will never forget him, let us pray that, in the new world he has entered, he will always remember us.

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