Hoosier Car Dealer Passes Away

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The longtime chairman of the central Indiana-based O'Brien Automotive Family has died. Tom O'Brien opened his first dealership in the early 1960s and business has since grown to include three locations. He will be laid to rest Saturday. O'Brien was 82. J Thomas O'Brien

September 13, 1931 - December 18, 2013

December 19, 2013

J. Thomas O'Brien

September 13, 1931 - December 18, 2013

Obituary

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - J. Thomas O'Brien passed away peacefully on Wednesday surrounded by his family. Tom O'Brien was the patriarch of the O'Brien Family and a leader in the local automotive industry.

Born in Indianapolis on Irish Hill, O'Brien was a graduate of St. Joan of Arc Grade School, Cathedral High School class of 1949, and Cum Laude from the University of Notre Dame class of 1953.

Building on the Plymouth DeSoto dealership opened by his father, Thomas J. O’Brien, on Virginia Avenue in 1933, O’Brien opened a second Chrysler Plymouth Imperial dealership in 1962. The O'Brien Automotive Family continued to grow under his leadership, and he served as Chairman of Tom O'Brien Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram - Greenwood, Tom O'Brien Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram - Indianapolis, and O'Brien Toyota Scion. 16 family members currently work at the dealerships.

O’Brien was a community leader and heavily involved in the automotive industry, serving as Chairman of the Chrysler Plymouth National Dealer Council, National Advisory Board to President of Chrysler Corporation, past president of the Indianapolis Automobile Trade Association and the Indiana Automobile Dealer Association, and a member of the Industrial Relations National Committee for the National Automobile Dealer Association. He received the Time Magazine Quality Dealers Award, and Indiana’s highest automotive distinction - the Herman Goodwin Civic Service Award.

O’Brien was a charter member of St. Luke Catholic Church, active in the Indianapolis Irish Catholic Community and received several honors. He was past president of the Notre Dame Alumni Club of Indianapolis, Notre Dame “Man of the Year”, Indianapolis Irishman of the Year, Honorary Chairman of the Indy Irishfest, received the Knight of the Holy Sepulcher Papal Award, and the “Faith, Family, Football Award for the Indiana Catholic Layman of the Year”. Tom was a member of Knight of Columbus 437. He cherished the Little Sisters of the Poor and their mission, and served as both Director and Chairman for the organization.

O’Brien was a member of Meridian Hills Country Club, Mission Hills Country Club, and Palisades Park. He was also a member of Junto and served on the Crows Nest Town Council. He loved the University of Notre Dame and the Blessed Mother, but his greatest love was his family, of which he was very proud. He is survived Joan, his wife of 61 years; their 14 children; 11 sons-and-daughters-in-law; 57 grandchildren; 9 grandchildren spouses; and 11 great-grandchildren:

Kathleen O’Brien Miller (Tom)

- Tommy, Brian (Erin - Hannah, Andrew, Adam, Molly), Katie (Dave - Mary Kate, Madeline) Kuhnz, Timmy (Tracy - Riley, Cameron, Makenzie), Kevin (Suzette), Kelly, Megan, Scotty

Thomas O’Brien (Joanie Wade)

- Mary Clare (Chris - Verity) Cole, Oliver, Lizzy, Brittany, Matthew, Molly

Michael O’Brien

Colleen O’Brien Scheidler (Bill)

- Matthew (Beth - Anna), Tim, Amy, Julie, Danny, Sarah

Pat O’Brien (Lyn McAnally)

- Kelsey (Andrew) Hickerson, Patrick

Maureen O’Brien Kohler (Jeff)

- Emily, (Jess) Marbot, Katie (John) Dalhoff, Clare, Maddie

Kevin O’Brien (Theresa Burget)

- Courtney, Kevin, Heather

Eileen O’Brien Metzger

- Kristen, Matthew, Mitch, Nick, Caroline

Rosaleen O’Brien Rogers (Graham)

- Shannon, Haley

Terry O’Brien (Laura MacNulty)

- Emma, John, Clara, James

Christeen O’Brien Paulison (Christopher (Woody))

- Andrew, Sam, Mary Kate, Annie, Molly, Michael

Charleen O’Brien Vierhile

- Ben, Ryan, Josie

Janeen O’Brien Park (Charles)

- Abigail, Lucy, Charlie, George, David

Tim O’Brien (Maryanne Wisler)

- TJ, Connor, Maryn

O’Brien is also survived by his sister, Shirley O'Brien Creamer (Jim).

The O’Brien Family would like to thank Leslie, Jordan and Katie from Tendercare Home Health Service and the caring staff at St. Vincent Hospice. Family and friends will gather at St. Luke Catholic Church, 7575 Holliday Drive East, Indianapolis, IN 46260, on Friday, December 20th from 4pm-8pm. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Luke Catholic Church, Saturday, December 21st, 11:00am. You are invited to visit the website www.leppertmortuary.com where you may share a personal memory of Tom. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Little Sisters of the Poor or St. Luke Catholic Church.

Funeral Information

Family and friends will gather at St. Luke Catholic Church, 7575 Holliday Drive East, Indianapolis, IN 46260, on Friday, December 20th from 4pm-8pm. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Luke Catholic Church, Saturday, December 21st, 11:00am.

Donations Information

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Little Sisters of the Poor or St. Luke Catholic Church

Source: Leppert Mortuary & Crematory Services