Tamaqua's 'Jack' of all trades Jack O'Brien remembered for his hard work, fatherlike presence
ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS Tamaqua firefighters line up with draped badges outside the Zizelmann-Roche Funeral Home in Tamaqua in honor of longtime volunteer firefighter John "Jack" O'Brien Jr.
"Although he left us earlier than planned, Jack lived life more than most," said Wayne Leone, in describing the life of his brother-in-law, John "Jack" O'Brien Jr., who died unexpectedly from a heart attack last Friday.
That eulogy was made before an overflowing room of firefighters, family members and friends at the Zizelmann-Roche Funeral Home yesterday.
O'Brien was well known in and around Tamaqua for his longtime dedication to the Citizen Fire Company, as well as for his love for music.
An active 40-year member of the Citizen's Fire Company and a former captain, he had currently served as lieutenant and financial secretary/treasurer.
O'Brien had completed certifications for Firefighter I and II and was a code inspector for the fire company. Representing the Citizen's Fire Company to the Tamaqua Volunteer Firemen's Relief Association, he served on the association's board of control.
O'Brien also worked as a production technician for Mack Trucks in Macungie, an EMT and responder with the Tamaqua Community Ambulance Association, and a former Schuylkill County deputy coroner for 30 years.
He was a member of St. Jerome's Catholic Church in Tamaqua.
During the service, his daughter Chelsea also spoke of his tough love and how he shared his gifts of music. A 1974 Tamaqua graduate, he was a well known musician with "The Dynamics" and "Habit Forming."
As a current disc jockey with "Jack and Dave," he had also volunteered his services at the Tamaqua H.D. Buehler Memorial Bungalow Pool for 22 years.
O'Brien's death came only a few days before one of his daughters, PA Army National Guard Sgt. Shannon Walkup, was to return home after serving her second tour in Afghanistan.
"Jack was a firm believer in the basics, commitment and training," stated fellow firefighter Jason Green. "He did so much and held every position. Jack was always the first one there and ... last one to leave."