William Lawrence O’Brien

William Lawrence O’Brien 1928 – 2021 BRUNSWICK – William Lawrence O’Brien, 93, passed away July 20, 2021, at the Maine Veterans’ Home in Augusta from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. Bill was born March 5, 1928 in New Canaan, Conn., the youngest child of Anthony and Mysie (MacIver) O’Brien. When his mother died the day before his 10th birthday, Bill (then known as Willy) boarded a train to Bingham, Maine, where he lived with his Aunt and Uncle, Isabella and Charley Malloy. Willy thrived in the smalltown atmosphere of Bingham, learning to hunt and fish, while also becoming an accomplished athlete and scholar. He was a five-year starter on the varsity baseball team, played basketball and skied, and was the Valedictorian of the Class of 1946 at Bingham High School. Bill loved his adopted hometown and reminisced about it frequently as his illness worsened. Upon graduation, Bill entered the Army and served as an MP at various assignments around Washington, D.C. He was honorably discharged as a Corporal in the Summer of 1948. A crack shot due to spending so much time in the Northwoods with his Uncle Charley, a Registered Maine Guide, Bill earned the Expert Marksmanship certification during his time in the Army. After a year at Farmington State Teachers College where he met lifelong friends Don and Dick Green, Bill set out with his friends (rumor has it they hitchhiked) to Bowling Green State University in Ohio from which he graduated with a BS in Education in 1952. Over the next several years, Bill embarked on his postgraduate education, attending Auburn University and the University of Colorado before earning his MS in Biology from Syracuse University. Armed with his degree, Bill returned to Maine and commenced a 30-year career as an educator and coach, first at Richmond and Livermore Falls High Schools before joining the faculty of Brunswick High School in 1959 as a Biology teacher from which he retired in 1985. Throughout his time in Brunswick, Bill coached wherever needed. He led the JV Baseball team for 15 years while also coaching football and track at various times. Unfortunately, his career as a HS hockey referee ended prematurely when a wayward shot struck and broke his ankle. It was in Richmond where Bill met the love of his life Jeannette Schools. They were married in the summer of 1955 and made for a dashing couple jitterbugging across the dance halls of Maine. Four children soon followed as they moved to a house in Brunswick bordering Edwards Field, a home familiar to just about any child of that era that played little league or Babe Ruth baseball, or high school soccer. In retirement, Bill and Jeannette became entrepreneurs, owning and operating Cote’s Ice Cream on Maine Street in Brunswick for 13 years before passing it on to his son and daughter-in-law, Craig and Pam O’Brien. Bill and Jeannette enjoyed 53 years of marriage, traveling to Nova Scotia with the Levesques and Ireland with Aunt Marilyn and Aunt Kay. They made frequent trips to Colorado and North Carolina to visit grandchildren and explore. Of course, there were also frequent drives all over Maine that usually ended in Bingham with a visit to Malloy’s Garage and then a stop at Thompson’s for a donut. Wherever they went, Bill usually had his fly rod close at hand, a passion he passed to all his sons. After Jeannette passed away in 2008, Bill reconnected with a friend from Bingham, Geraldine Farley, and they enjoyed 10 years together, splitting their time between Brunswick and Embden Pond. As Bill lived his final years with Alzheimer’s disease, he maintained his congenial nature and sense of humor, never failing to playfully tease anyone with whom he connected. The family would like to thank Johanna Wigg and the staff at The Vicarage By The Sea for their loving care for the past six years. Bill was predeceased by his wife Jeannette; his parents; sister Ella Beeghly, brother Harvey, in-laws George and Phyllis Schools, brother- and sister-in-law George and Kay Schools, and brother-in-law Charles Schools. He is survived by his children Kevin of Brunswick, Craig (Pam) of Bowdoinham, Kyle (Lisa) of Broomfield, Colo., and Coleen of Elizabeth City, N.C. He is also survived by his grandchildren Will, Leah (Adam), Hannah (Joe), Kevin (Becky), Caitrin (Sean), Patrick and Sean; great-granddaughter Charlotte; and his sister-in-law Marilyn Schools. Bill was a devoted husband, incredible father, doting grandfather and a lifelong teacher. He lived an active and remarkable life. We are going to miss him terribly. As his grandson Sean said at his passing, “Grandpa was the GOAT!” A graveside burial will be held on August 31 at the Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Augusta. A private reception will be scheduled at a location in the Brunswick area. Condolences may be expressed at http://www.funeralalternatives.net If you would like to make a donation in Bill’s honor please consider: The Maine Council of Trout Unlimited

Guest Book