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1952 Sherman 2021

Sherman Louis O'Brien

September 4, 1952 — December 19, 2021

Sherman Louis O’Brien, Commander, USN (Retired), 69 walked peacefully and pain-free into the arms of his Savior on December 19, 2021 at his home in Orange Park, FL. Sherman was born to Eugene and Lola Larson O’Brien on September 4, 1952 in Glendive, MT and spent his childhood in the small town of Wolf Point, Montana. He thrived on the blessings of small town America and enjoyed favorite pastimes such as bike riding, swimming, sledding, skating, and playing his favorite sport, baseball, with his friends growing up. The son of a widow for the majority of his childhood, he found ways to earn money with odd jobs such as shoveling snow, mowing lawns, gardening, scorekeeping for the local bowling league and delivering the Great Falls Tribune.

A proud 1970 graduate of Wolf Point High School, he was awarded a Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarship to attend Iowa State University in “the cultural mecca of the Midwest”, Ames, Iowa. Upon graduation from Iowa State in 1974 with his Bachelor’s Degree, Sherman was commissioned into the United States Navy and ordered to Navy flight training where he earned his wings of gold. This was the beginning of a lifetime of service, first to his country as a decorated member of the armed forces, then to future generations as a high school science teacher.

Sherman’s career in the military began with orders to Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron 11 homeported in Jacksonville, FL. The Commanding Officer of HS-11 introduced Sherman to his daughter, Debbie, whom he would go on to marry on April 21, 1979. His military service would lead the O’Brien family across the country several times as his orders included duty stations in Peoria, IL, Minneapolis, MN, Norfolk, VA (2 times), Monterey, CA, Jacksonville, FL (3 times), and Seattle, WA. During his 23-year military career Sherman was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal (2), Strike-Flight Air Medal (2), Navy Commendation Medal (2), Navy Achievement Medal (2) and other individual and unit awards in addition to graduating Navy Postgraduate School with his Master’s Degree. Upon retirement from the Navy, Sherman started teaching secondary school science with the Clay County School District. He taught earth science, physical science, and was particularly passionate about teaching physics. After teaching approximately 2,500 students of his 20-year second career, he retired from teaching at Clay High School in 2018.

Following his second retirement, he focused on his true passion, spending time with family. He set about making sure everyone in the family was well-fed and spent his days as a part time Grandpa Daycare. Among his many interests were home repair and improvement (read: buying and using new tools), watching and playing sports such as tennis, golf and running (he completed 4 marathons and countless 5k, 10k and 15k races), and cooking (he was an avid Food Network watcher and Bon Appetit subscriber).

Sherman was a faithful Believer in his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, a devoted and loving husband, father and grandfather, a patriot and defender of freedom and the United States of America, and a proud son of his native state of Montana. He will be remembered as a godly man who was quick to share a home-cooked meal and good conversation. He was generous with his love and a fount of knowledge ranging from pop culture trivia to historical dates and events to which aisle had the item you’re looking for in Publix.

Sherman is preceded in death by his parents, Eugene and Lola O’Brien, parents-in-love, Duane and Carolyn Steiner, and sister, Terryayne Jones. He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Debbie, children Joseph (April) O’Brien and Joshua (Jennifer) O’Brien of St. Augustine, FL, Kathryn (Blas) Ruelas and Laura (William) Torres of Orange Park, FL, 12 grandchildren, sister Marlys O’Brien of Inver Grove Heights, MN, aunts, uncles, cousins, and many friends across the country.

The family would like to extend heart-felt thanks to the doctors, nurses, and caregivers at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, FL and Mayo Clinic Jacksonville for their heroic efforts over the past ten years as Sherman was treated for cutaneous angiosarcoma. In lieu of gifts or flowers, please consider a memorial gift to Moffitt Cancer Center, Mayo Clinic, or Sarcoma Foundation of America. A memorial service will be held on Thursday, December 23, 2021 at 11:30am at Mandarin Presbyterian Church, 2501 Loretta Road, Jacksonville, FL.


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Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Starts at 11:30 am (Eastern time)

Mandarin Presbyterian Church

2501 Loretto Road, Jacksonville, FL 32223

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