Eileen C. O’Brien, 90 years old, passed away peacefully at home on October 2nd, surrounded by her loving family by her side. She was born at home on September 25th, 1929, to Sarah and James Parsons, and they lived at 575 Jackson Avenue in the Bronx. At Eileen’s birth it was noticed that she had a caul veil, a rare birth event that in many cultures has been considered a sign of good luck and there were many instances in her life that proved true. Most of all, Eileen lived her life as a woman of great faith and she made everyone she came in contact with feel special.
It was still the prosperous “roaring 20’s” on the day she was born and life was good, but that would dramatically change a month later with the stock market crash and the onset of the Great Depression. She was one of four children, which included her older brother James, and two younger sisters, Katherine (Dolly), Bradley, and Joan Reilly. Her parents were Irish immigrants both from County Galway who worked hard during those tough times to take care of their young family.
Her family eventually settled in the Saint Rose of Lima parish in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan and she and her siblings attended the parish school. It was a great neighborhood full of other families and kids and she enjoyed playing all the street games of that time.
Eileen attended Cathedral High School in Manhattan. Upon graduation, she worked for the New York Telephone Company for five years. On February 3, 1950, she married John J. O’Brien, another Washington Heights resident. The marriage took place at Saint Rose of Lima Church, and the young couple settled in the Sacred Heart parish in the Highbridge section of the Bronx to start a family. Eileen loved children and had said she always wanted a big family. She had eight children; John, Joan, Richard, Helen, Patricia, Anthony, Matthew, and Luke. She loved her family and was a devoted, strong, hard working mother, who was totally devoted to them.
Like many families however, there were many challenges and obstacles, however her strong personality and faith got her and the family through the tough times. In 1970, she moved her family up to the Kingsbridge neighborhood in the Bronx.
Eileen went back to work for New York Telephone shortly afterwards and took the night shift in the Inwood section of northern Manhattan. This allowed her to be involved with her children’s school and other activities during the day, and led to many long-term friendships with the neighborhood parents and families. She was also involved with St. John’s parish and CCD programs during that time.
Eileen retired in 1991 and in the mid 90’ moved to the Riverdale section of the Bronx. She thoroughly enjoyed retirement. She liked to read, cook, travel, and most of all, spend time with her children and grandchildren and host the best holiday dinners with the whole family. She traveled and took the opportunity to visit Ireland, her parent’s homeland, and she loved summer vacations with her family in Hampton Bays, Long Island.
Eileen is predeceased by her parents Sarah (nee Kenny) and James Parsons, her husband John, and her brother James Parsons.
Her surviving children and grandchildren, John and his wife Chris and sons, Paul and William, Joan and her husband George and daughter Lauren and son Andrew, Richard, Helen and her husband Joe, Patricia and her (deceased) husband John and daughter Briana, Anthony, Matthew, Luke and Grace and their son Keith.
Eileen will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her. She will be remembered for her generosity of spirit, strength, diplomacy, selflessness patience, compassion, wisdom, and above all, her sense of humor.
Reposing Sunday 2-4 & 7-9 pm at Riverdale-on-Hudson Funeral Home, 6110 Riverdale Ave. Bronx NY. Mass of Christian Burial Monday 9:45 am at St. Margaret of Cortona Church. Interment Gate of Heaven Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Riverdale Family Practice, 3050 Corlear Avenue, Suite 201, The Bronx NY 10463.