Dennis Patrick O'Brien

May 7, 1933October 16, 2021
Obituary of Dennis Patrick O'Brien
Dennis P. O’Brien, 88, passed away peacefully on October 16th, 2021 after a two- year battle with ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease. Dennis, or Big D as he was known, was born on May 7, 1933 in the Bronx, New York, the third child of William O’Brien and Nellie (Sugrue) O’Brien. He was pre-deceased by his brothers Bill and John, and his sister Joan (Vogt). Dennis attended St. Angela Merici Elementary School and Cardinal Hayes High School. During the Korean War, he enlisted in the United States Navy on St. Patrick’s Day in 1952 and served four years as a U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman assigned to the United States Marines. Upon returning from service, he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Finance and Economics from Iona College. During this time, he also met his ever love, Suzanne Devlin. Dennis and Sue were married on February 4, 1961 and raised five children. Dennis’s career brought them from New York City, Smithtown and Flushing, to Amsterdam and Glens Falls, New York; to Wilmington, Delaware; to Cleveland Heights, Ohio; and for 35 years in Hinsdale and Burr Ridge, Illinois. Finally, to Indianapolis, Indiana and a little spot of paradise named “The Overlook”. Dennis spent the majority of his professional life in sales and owning and operating his own outdoor advertising company. When he sold his company to a major Outdoor Advertising entity, he became a partner helping to take the company public. He spent the next 15 years aiding Outdoor companies expand internationally into China developing the country’s Airport and Highway advertising business. Never willing to retire, he began consulting for many municipalities in the Chicago area, traveling to and from Indianapolis until Covid arrived and his diagnosis of ALS was made by Mayo Clinic. He was known as an intense and passionate negotiator, competitor, and dealmaker. During his navy career, when his wingspan of 84 inches was discovered, he was selected by the Marines to join the elite Marine Basketball team in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. His team competed regularly against visiting military teams playing games on the courts of ships and aircraft carriers. Dennis often commented that his military experience and the comradery of serving with those talented men were among the most influential years of his life and provided a lifetime of friendships and memories. This began his lifelong pursuit and commitment to that game... the only game Although an ardent fan of many sports, golf where he was always developing a more perfect swing and the discovery of pickleball as he grew older, were seen as rising competitors was always basketball that was his favorite. He played with the St. Isaac Jogue ’s Hinsdale men’s group, the Chicago Senior League out of Washington Park for over 30 years and played in National and Inter-National tournaments. He retired from basketball at 85 when his team won the “Gold” in the National Senior Games in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was awarded the MVP of the games and inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Earlier in his life he volunteered as a Big Brother in New York, and spent eight years at the Soup Kitchen for the Hinsdale Inter-Faith Group at Union Church. He enjoyed countless conversations with the Humboldt Park homeless, so many of whom he felt were a kindly group of men with unbelievable experiences who just needed a helping hand. Dennis’s children were always upmost in his mind and his pride and love for them was ever present. His calls for a breakfast date with each are legendary. Attending his kids and grandchildren’s sporting events were premier occasions for him, and the loudest voice from the stands was always his. If he missed a game, the call came that they needed “The Voice” back cheering them on. Dennis is survived by his beloved wife, Sue of 60 years and his five children: Dennis (Laura), Kathryn (Bryan) Kumler, Erin (Richard) Pietranek, Ellen (Jim) Paul, and Peter (Natalie) O’Brien and nine cherished grandchildren: Shawn O’Brien; Reiley and Grady Kumler; Sophie, Maddie, and Danny Pietranek; Jack and Sarah Paul; and the youngest heart stopper of the family Leela O’Brien. Faith, family, and country governed his life. His strength, kindness, courage and sense of humor remained to the end, along with his unwavering belief in the Dear Lord. He loved his roles as a husband, father, grandfather, uncle, great uncle, and loyal friend to the many who enriched his life. He was inspirational to those who knew him and deeply loved in return. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Family and friends will gather on Friday October 22,2021 from 4:00 to 8:00pm in Leppert Mortuary, Nora Chapel, 740 East 86th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46240 A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on October 23, 2021 at: St. Luke’s Catholic Church 7575 Holiday Drive E, Indianapolis, IN 46260 10:30 AM on October 23, 2021 Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in memory of Dennis O’Brien: Veterans Administration ALS CLINIC of Indianapolis Richard Roudebush VA Medical Center Voluntary Service 1481 West 10th Street Indianapolis, IN 46202 The O’Brien Family expresses their profound gratitude to the Veterans Association ALS Clinic of Indianapolis and especially to Leah for all the energy and constant support given throughout this illness and to Diane, Charlene and Lou Ann of the St. Vincent’s Hospice group for the care, guidance, and reassurances provided. The work of these groups is truly beyond measure for the families who experience it.

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Past Services

Friday, October 22, 2021


Saturday, October 23, 2021

Mass of Christian Burial