(ABOVE: Photo by Robert Wagner)
Jack O’Brien, a proud American and lifelong Hoboken resident, passed away over the weekend. He was 89.
Jack served in the Merchant Marine during World War II, and was a vocal member of Hoboken American Legion Post 107 and the Merchant Marine Veterans Association. He marched in over 70 parades here in Hoboken and over 250 in his lifetime, ultimately being inducted into the New Jersey Drum Corps Hall of Fame in 2002.
“Hey O’Brien,” he joked with hMAG contributor Alan Skontra in a 2014 interview, “You know everybody. Did you know George Washington, too?”
“Jack was the guy you saw on the street and always had a story to tell,” says hMAG Publisher Emeritus Joe Mindak, “and you always wanted to listen.”
“He would tell you tales of old Hoboken and the boys coming home from the war, of marching in 60-some-odd parades a year at 70-something years old,” recalls Mindak. “He was always excited to see you, and no matter how your day was going, if you ran into Jack it just got better.”
O’Brien passed peacefully at Hoboken University Medical Center. Services will take place at Failla Memorial Home on Tuesday, October 17, from 3-8 p.m.