Dan Roger O'Brien, 82, passed away peacefully at his home June 22, 2014 after a short illness.
Dan was born on Jan. 5, 1932 to Clifford and Grace O'Brien. He attended Fort Atkinson High School where he was an all-around athlete, and also graduated from Milton College. A lover of baseball, he tried out as a 2nd baseman for the Chicago White Sox, and played for the House of David (HOD) semi-pro baseball team, traveling and playing teams throughout the region. While playing for the HOD, Dan organized and played in a game in Fort Atkinson against ex-major leaguer Satchel Paige and his barnstorming team.
Dan married Mary Anne Nowak Allen on Oct. 1, 1955 and they raised a family of six children and enjoyed their grandchildren over a marriage of nearly 42 years. She preceded him in death in 1997. In 2002, he married Carol (Majewski) Ziebell, with whom he enjoyed retirement, their blended families, shared interests of bowling and golf, and a highlight trip to Jamaica.
Dan was a longtime employee of the U.S. Postal Service, and very much enjoyed meeting and interacting with the people he met on his route over the years. He participated in many events with his postal union buddies following retirement, and got together at least annually with his Milton College friends as well.
He became a baseball umpire, umpiring many local baseball games, and serving as the commissioner of the Central Wisconsin Baseball organization. He loved golf, bowling, and spending time with his family and friends. He also loved the Packers, the Badgers, baseball, NASCAR, and being a life-long resident of Fort Atkinson.
Dan was proud of his Irish heritage, and had a quick wit and charm. Above all, he was a wealthy man, having been blessed with the many friends and family who loved him. In his final days, he noted simply, "I've had a good life." He faced the end with courage and strength, and the ability to still laugh at life's foibles. We will miss him greatly.
Dan is survived by his wife, Carol; sons, Kevin (Barb) and Shawn (Ann); daughters, Shannon (Jim) Kelly, Erin (Tom) Vick, Kelly (Rick) Grosser and Kathy O'Brien; grandchildren, Mandy, Katie, Brittany, Zachary, Logan, Conlan, Alanna, Justin, Hunter, and Meggan; and great grandchildren Brandon, Finley, Nolan, Cole, Evan, and Owen. He is also survived by step-children, Steve (Kelly) Ziebell, Lori (Kevin) Becker, and Debbie (John) Nash, and their children Kyle, Kori, Garrett, Cassidy and Ansley.
Also preceding Dan in death were his parents and a sister, Patricia.
Friends can call at the Dunlap Memorial Home, Fort Atkinson, on Friday, June 27, beginning at 10 a.m. The service will be at noon with burial to follow at Evergreen Cemetery in Fort Atkinson. There will be a celebration of Dan's life beginning at 1 pm at Spring Creek Golf Center.