Obituary: William T. "Bill" O'Brien, former Ohio State Legislative Board Chair
William T. "Bill" O'Brien, former Chairman of the BLET's Ohio State Legislative Board, passed away from complications of liver cancer on November 1.
Brother O'Brien served as Chairman of the Ohio State Legislative Board from 1987-2002. He passed away in the care of his children in Sarasota, Fla.
"All five of his children were able to be at his side and say good-bye," said his daughter Peggy O'Brien.
Survivors include daughters Ann Matthews, Judy O. Klauber and Margaret-Mary (Peggy), all of Sarasota; sons Michael of North Port and Timothy of Toledo, Ohio; and four grandchildren.
"Brother O'Brien influenced many high ranking political leaders during his years of service to the Brotherhood and successfully lobbied on behalf of numerous pieces of legislation that improved the working conditions for locomotive engineers," said Don M. Hahs, National President of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen. "On behalf of the BLET, I extend my deepest sympathies to the friends and family of Bill O'Brien."
He was born Dec. 18, 1933, in Detroit. He was a Coast Guard veteran of the Korean War and a member of St. Martha Catholic Church. He retired from the Brotherhood in 2002. He was a member of the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon for 25 years.
"(Bill O'Brien) was a friend and a companion in our struggles against uncaring employers and government agencies," said George Hucker, Vice President of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference and former National Legislative Representative-Canada for the BLE. "There are a few good guys that you could always depend on and Brother Bill falls into that group.
"We can all tell each other of how much we will miss the old guy but we need to tell each other of how much he meant to us," Hucker said. "Bill was always understanding of how important the International really was. Bill was very aware of how well our union worked when we all worked together. We in the Legislative Department of the BLE are lesser today with his passing and we need to remember that he came to represent the true meaning of Brotherhood."
Memorial donations may be made to TideWell Hospice and Palliative Care, 5955 Rand Blvd., Sarasota, FL 34238.
Brother Bill O'Brien, right, at 1995 meeting with U.S. Vice President Al Gore.
© 2006 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen