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Call now for immediate attention: 772-999-5547

James J. O’Brien

April 13, 1949 ~ September 23, 2020

James J. O’Brien, 71, of Vero Beach, Florida passed away on September 23 at his home surrounded by his loving family.  Jim was born in Wheeling, West Virginia on April 13, 1949 to the late Judge Thomas P. O’Brien and Kathryn Archer O’Brien.

He graduated from Linsly Military Institute in 1967 and The College of William and Mary in 1971.  He married his high school sweetheart, Dana Fawcett O’Brien in 1972 – this December would have marked their 48th anniversary.

Throughout his life, he excelled in tennis, playing number one through high school and college and going on to win numerous state titles in both West Virginia and Florida.  Following his college graduation, he moved to Boca Raton, Florida where he began his professional tennis career. He befriended many of the touring Pros and was considered by many to be a catalyst in the development of tennis in the state of Florida. Jim spent years teaching tennis to all levels of players, and coaching many in an effort to help them achieve excellence in college and on the tour. Having successfully managed the Pepsi Grand Slam and the Lipton Tennis Tournament (now The Sony Erickson) Jim eventually moved into the Development & Club Management business.

Jim became the General Manager of the Broken Sound Club in Boca Raton, The Oaks in Sarasota, Winston Trails in Lake Worth, and Ironhorse in West Palm Beach.

Then in 2001 Jim and Dana moved to San Antonio, Texas where he developed numerous Planned Development communities and built “high-end” custom homes. In 2012, they moved back to Florida to be with Family, and he became CEO and President of the Melbourne Greyhound Park and Club 52.

Throughout his near 50 years in the Florida community, Jim was involved in numerous organizations and served on many boards. Among other achievements and recognitions, Jim served on the St. Andrews School Board where his children attended school, The Melbourne Chamber of Commerce Board, and the Melbourne Business Voice Board.

In addition to his devoted wife, Dana, Jim is survived by his son, Jeffrey James O’Brien and his wife, Shannon O’Brien; his daughter Wendy O’Brien Coya and her husband, Marcus Christopher Coya; 4 grandchildren, Connor James O’Brien, Lily Joanne O’Brien, Addison Jane Coya, and Quinn Kathleen Coya.    He is also survived by his brother, Thomas P. O’Brien, Jr. (Anne-Marie) of Cincinnati, Ohio, uncle to two nephews, Thomas P. O’Brien, III of Louisville, Kentucky, Christopher W. O’Brien of Columbus, Ohio and a niece, Caroline S. O’Brien of Lima, Ohio.  He was predeceased by his parents and a brother, Michael.

In support of his Grandchildren, Pop Pop as he was affectionately called, attended numerous events including their soccer, football, basketball, lacrosse, school musicals, and cheer competitions.

He will be Forever missed but Never forgotten.

In lieu of flowers, Memorial Donations can be made to Children’s Heart Foundation ( or Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation ( )




John Lively

September 30, 2020, 10:39 pm

I’m so sad for you, Dana. Jim always treated me well and was always a good conversation. I hope that you can find solace in the children and grandchildren that he left you. Feel free to reach out to Jill and me. We will be in Jupiter both this Thanksgiving and Christmas. We are always up for a trip to Mulligan’s.

Barbara Christian

October 1, 2020, 12:04 am

RIP James…so many wonderful memories you took with you.. Your loss is heartbreaking for all of us. I will always be thankful for meeting you and Dana in 1975..You gave me my first job in South Florida and my last job in South Florida 20 years later..You all became my southern family..I will always be thankful we met..Holidays will never be the same without you..Condolences to Dana and the family…Much love..Barbara

Michael Fink

October 1, 2020, 12:06 pm

Condolences from Patti and Mike Fink. He was an amazing man. He accomplished so much. May Jimmy Rest In Peace.

Jan Brooker

October 1, 2020, 5:09 pm

I’m so sorry Wendy! I didn’t know your Dad but I know you, so I’m sure he was a great man! Love and prayers for you and your family❤️

David Bilsker and family

October 1, 2020, 11:00 pm

Dana, our deepest sympathy to you and your family. You and Jim were among the first to so warmly welcome us to the street. We loved hearing the stories about the old days in South Florida tennis and I will think of Jim’s great smile every time I pass your garage and see the posters hanging on the wall.

Sheri Steele

October 2, 2020, 12:55 am

Oh Shannon I am so sorry for your families loss. I know Jim was an important part of the O’Brien family. Please give hugs to everyone from the Steele family ❤️

Lisa Gnann

October 2, 2020, 4:37 am

Clark and I have only the fondest memories of Jim! We will always Remember how helped clark get a college scholarship. And when I came to him in 1982 looking for a tennis job he found me the perfect position.I was always impressed by his loyalty to his friends and employees. We were lucky to have him as a friend and as a neighbor! Hugs and more hugs to Dana and Wendy and Jeff.

Courtney P. Mayer

October 2, 2020, 7:18 pm


I am so sorry for this tremendous loss. I remember Jim fondly and I am thinking of you and your family. What a difference he made in his life. I know he will be terribly missed.

Brad Clarke

October 3, 2020, 1:05 pm

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I know you have many happy memories which will sustain you during this difficult time.

Dorin Balls

October 4, 2020, 5:25 pm

Our prayers go to Dana & the family

Kris Huggins

October 5, 2020, 12:26 am

Just heard about your loss Dana – he will be missed by so many people. I worked for Jim selling homes in San Antonio – love the twinkle in his eye! Sending sincere condolences to your entire family!

Bill McNamara

October 7, 2020, 3:52 pm

Sorry for your loss Dana and the entire O’Brien family. Just got notice of this from my brother Scott. I knew Jimmy back in the late ‘60s from playing high school tennis in Wheeling, WV when the balls were white, the racquets were wood, and the lines were “hilly”! Reads like he’s lived a wonderful life both on and off the tennis court since then. May you forever Rest In Peace, Jimmy O.

Robin Miller

October 7, 2020, 4:15 pm

Truly a prince of a man. Heaven just got a little brighter. My sincerest condolences to Dana and the entire family.

Charlie Jones

October 7, 2020, 10:56 pm

Dana, I am so sad and shocked to learn of Jimmy’s passing. From the time I met him when we were in 9th-grade, he was one of the most loyal friends anybody could ever hope to have. My condolences to you and your family

Lily Joanne Obrien

November 6, 2020, 7:20 pm

I miss you pop pop

Linda and Russ Hobbs

September 28, 2021, 7:24 pm

Dear Daner, we just heard this awful news and our prayers go out to you, Jeff and Wendy. We will always remember all our good times with you and Jim… lots of laughs, from Wheeling to Boca to Naples and wherever! our hearts go out to y’all. Good memories. Jim always made people around him enjoy life. I met Jim when he was 16 playing tennis with Russ at Oglebay. Love linda and Russ

Rob Dowling

August 1, 2022, 8:26 pm

Dear Dana-
I’m so sorry. I just heard about Jim now in August 22’. I was trying to look him up to say hi. I’m shocked.
We all met in Naples in 85’ and he was such a huge help to me
as the Wyndemere Tennis Pro.
He basically made my tennis-pro and real estate career.
He made such an impression on me , and loved knowing you , Jeff and Wendy on your Naples trips. I thought about Jim a lot over the years.
I wish I reached out to Jim to say THANK YOU JIM… for all you did for me. I’ll remember and think of you forever.
Rob Dowling.
Naples FL

Bryan Minnich

December 16, 2022, 3:04 pm

Dear Dana,

For whatever reason I was thinking about Jimmie this morning. I went on Google and found that he had passed. I’m so very sorry for you and your family.

Jimmie, became a good friend while I managed the Weston Athletic Club, for one year. We would have breakfast together most Mondays. He was always so kind and a mentor to me. He always made me feel I was his boss…lol lol…we know better then that…lol.

I remember once when I was in his office, he handed me a single sheet of letterhead and then said, I do that with people I hire. It shows how nervous they are. I have used that several times, since then.

The most memorable moment, 5 years later, after I left Weston, was the meeting I had with him at Broken Sound.

The meeting was about being the contract cleaning company for Broken Sound Country Club.

Jimmie, Bill, Rick, my partner, and myself went into a card room and sat down. We talked for a few minutes and then Jimmie got up to go to another meeting. As he was walking to the door, he stopped and looked at Bill and said, Bill, whatever Bryan what’s, give it to him. And he left.

I have used that story many times while teaching my college students about the importance of building relationships.

I’m sure you don’t remember me, I just had to share with you my stories, and the impact Jimmie had on me.

I lost my Best friend Rick the same year and reading about Jimmie was very emotional this morning.

Dana, I’m so sorry for your loss and my prayers are with you and your family.



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