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.
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