Richard William O’Brien, 93, known to most as Dick, passed away at 12:05 a.m. New Year’s Day at Lutheran Homes. Services for Dick will be held at Zion Lutheran Church on Monday, January 6, 2020, at 10:00 am. Visitation will be from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 5, 2020, at the Snyder & Hollenbaugh Funeral & Cremation Services, formerly the Geo. M. Wittich-Lewis Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, memorials have been established to the Muscatine Humane Society and Salvation Army in Dick’s name. Online condolences may be left for the family at www.sandhfuneralservice.com.
Dick was born in Muscatine, Iowa, on November 3, 1926, the son of Helen Freese O’Brien and William Charles O’Brien.
Dick attended school in Muscatine, and eight days after his graduation from Muscatine High School, he left for service in the U.S. Navy having served on the USS Coucal during World War II.
Following his return home in 1945, Dick married Marilyn Barr. They had two daughters, Kerry and Peggy. The family lived in various towns in Iowa where Dick worked as District Manager for the Chevrolet Motor Division of General Motors. He finished his career in Texas as a Regional Manager for BMW.
In 1973, Dick married Audrey Elizabeth Cody, and Audrey’s daughter, Paula, then joined the family. Dick and Audrey moved back to Muscatine in 1989. She preceded him in death in 2005.
Dick’s proudest accomplishment was serving as Mayor for the City of Muscatine from 1995 to 2011. During his 16 years as Mayor, he was instrumental in the city’s riverfront improvements as well as many throughout the city. He was honored when City Council changed the name of Harbor Drive on the riverfront to O’Brien Parkway. The town clock on the riverfront also bears his name and his favorite phrase, “Good things are happening in Muscatine”. People still consider him to be the greatest Ambassador for the City of Muscatine.
Dick was a lifelong member of Zion Lutheran Church. He was named a Rotary Fellow by the Muscatine Rotary Club. He was very involved with a number of organizations in Muscatine and in many cases had served on their Boards. They included the MCC Alumni Association, the Salvation Army, Toastmasters of Muscatine, the Humane Society, the Community Improvement Action Team, and the Bi-State Regional Commission. He was active in Muscatine Sister Cities and had traveled to the city’s sister city in Japan.
Dick was named to the Muscatine High School Hall of Honor in 2010. For his service in the Navy, he was awarded a Quilt of Valor by the American Legion and he participated in the Quad Cities Honor Flight to Washington, D.C.
Those left to honor his memory include his daughters Kerry (Herb) Fisher of College Station, Texas, Peggy (Gene) VanMeter of Ingram, Texas, and Paula (Tom) Saraceno of Littleton, Colorado; his cousin, Thelma Hildebaugh of Muscatine; sister, Donna (Richard) Bolsinger of Maui, Hawaii and five grandchildren and several great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his dear friends Alice Cavazos, Evelyn Schauland, and many more too numerous to mention.