Donald O'Brian

October 24, 1942June 4, 2021

Donald L. O’Brian, 78 years old, of Greeley Colorado passed away on June 4, 2021, from pancreatic cancer. He died peacefully in the loving presence of his wife Nancy, daughter Julie and son Mark.

Don grew up in Englewood, Colorado (graduating from Englewood High School in 1961). He spent his adult years in Greeley (receiving a BA and MA from Colorado State College). He loved every minute of the 32 years he taught middle-level science and mathematics in Weld District Six. He simultaneously ran a house painting business teaching more young people painting skills and how to work. After retiring from teaching Don went back to school to become a massage therapist, and continued working part-time at the Bridge at Greeley (a retirement community) providing pain relief for residents for nearly twenty years.

Don loved spending time with family, golfing, playing poker with friends, building houses through Habitat for Humanity, and traveling to various countries around the world with Nancy. Don derived great joy from his life and had a gift for finding humor in almost every situation. He was a constant source of love and care for his family, friends and the young people he had the privilege to teach and mentor.

Don married his first wife, Betty, in 1964, with whom he had two children. After marrying Nancy in 1985 he shared parenting responsibility for their four teenagers (Julie, Kim, Mark and Mike). Don is survived by all of them, his brother Perry and seven grandchildren, all of whom miss him already.

A “Celebration of Life” for Don will be held on Saturday June 12, 2021, at 10am, at the First Congregational Church of Greeley (2101 16th St, Greeley, CO 80631); masks are required inside the church. Plan to join family and friends to continue the celebration after the memorial with refreshments outside on the church grounds. In lieu of flowers consider continuing Don’s tradition of giving to worthwhile charities such as the Greeley-Weld Habitat for Humanity or the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network in care of Allnutt Funeral Service, Macy Chapel, 6521 W. 20th Street, Greeley, CO 80634.

To share memories and condolences please visit


  • Aneka O'Brian, Honorary Pallbearer
  • Connor O'Brian, Honourary Pallbearer
  • Alyse Oxenford, Honourary Pallbearer
  • Maya Balaban, Honorary Pallbearer
  • Jona Balaban, Honourary Pallbearer
  • Joaquin Shellenberger, Honorary Pallbearer
  • Kestrel Shellenberger, Honorary Pallbearer

  • Greeley-Weld Habitat for Humanity
  • Pancreatic Cancer Action Network


  • Celebration of Life

    Saturday, June 12, 2021


Donald O'Brian

have a memory or condolence to add?

Janice Gibson

June 15, 2021

To the family of Don O'Brian:
I am sincerely sorry for the loss of your beloved Don. I had Mr. O'Brian at Maplewood Middle School for Science and I can honestly say he was one of my all-time favorite teachers. His fun personality and sense of humor made learning so much fun and his flair for helping us still remains in my memory. I am now an elementary school teacher and have taught 32 years. I praise God for the wonderful life that Don lived, and I surround you all with prayers of comfort and strength.
Blessings and peace,
Janice (Kratochvil) Gibson

Mary Ellen (Tiller, Kingsbury) Serina

June 15, 2021

My sincere condolences to Nancy and all the family. I sympathize with you in your loss. Don was a unique and joyful person. May you find peace in all your wonderful memories. Sincerely, Mary Ellen

Mark Allnutt

June 14, 2021

I first met Don approximately 50 years ago at Maplewood Elementary, and Don was my science teacher. Not only was he the best science teacher that I ever had, but he was also my "ALL TIME FAVORITE TEACHER!" He made class & learning about science so exciting. He always had a special bond with all of his students, and he was a extraordinary human being that has made a huge impact on all who knew him. We were also members together for years and years at the First Congregational Church, and he and Nancy have been a major and integral part of our church family. Don will be missed greatly, but he will never be forgotten because he will always hold a special place in my heart!

Tim and Hollis Berendt

June 12, 2021

Our condolences go out to Nancy and the family. I looked forward to seeing Don at the golf course and our political conversations. Always enjoyed your company. We will miss you.
- Tim and Hollis

Dr. Kenneth Humphrey

June 12, 2021

Sylvia and I were/are distressed to learn of Don's passing. Don was one of several teachers of the "all 6th grade classrooms south wing" at Maplewood Elementary in the early 70s when I held my first principalship in District Six. He was definitely one of the most dedicated, excellent, and hard-working teachers on the staff, someone I could rely on to do his best for his students. After I moved on to Arlington, his wife, Nancy moved with me and joined my staff there (and she also went with me to open Monfort). Like Don, Nancy also was/is an excellent teacher. Don will be greatly missed by those of us who were privileged to have known him. Our condolences and best wishes are sent to Nancy and the other members of his family
Dr. Ken and Sylvia Humphrey

Anna Carr

June 11, 2021

Allison Schiltz made a donation to Greeley-Weld Habitat for Humanity in memory of Don, and left a message for Kim Shellenberger: Dear Kim, We met Don on a Habitat trip and really enjoyed getting to know him. He's one of the loveliest people we've ever met and we are sad that we will never get to build with him again. We are so sorry for your loss. Sincerely, Allison and Jared.

Betsy Sullivan

June 10, 2021

Mr. O’Brian was my teacher at Maplewood Middle School. I loved going to his classes. He was one of my favorite teachers and always made me laugh! He was fun to be around. What a lovely life he lived, always giving back to others. He was a good man and I am so sorry for your loss. Blessings to your family.

Karen Buie

June 10, 2021

Don was the first person I met when I began attending First Congregational. I looked forward to his wonderful smile and warm, welcoming greeting when I entered the chapel for the early service. He certainly made the community a joyful place to be.

Karen/Wayne Trainor

June 7, 2021

Our colleague, our golfing partner, our fellow church member, the teacher of our children, our friend. We remember Don in so many ways. Always a kind, helpful, fun person to be with. He will be so missed by so many. Our prayers and hopes to all his loving family for good memories and peace.
Karen and Wayne