Cover photo for Gary O'Brien's Obituary
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1960 Gary 2022

Gary O'Brien

November 9, 1960 — May 19, 2022

Gary Scott O’Brien, age 61, passed away suddenly on May 19, 2022 in Columbus.  Gary was born on November 9, 1960 in Shreveport, Louisiana, the son of Jack and Charlene (Hawes) O’Brien.  He was a 1978 Graduate of Stillman Valley High School where he was editor of the school newspaper.  He attended Illinois State University in Bloomington, graduating with a double major in Journalism and Mass Communications.  He worked for many years as the Assistant Director of the University of Illinois Assembly Hall in Champaign, IL and had his own popular radio show, Gary O’Brien and Friends, on WDWS-AM in Champaign.  He interviewed hundreds of celebrities and performers over the years and was a well-known figure in Champaign.  He was recruited to The Ohio State University to be Director of Communication and Project Development.  Through his public role as ‘Gary the Arena Guy’ he was the public face of Ohio State’s entertainment venues.  He was a frequent guest on Columbus television promoting the upcoming events at the University and hosted a popular podcast as well.  His favorite performer was Elton John and he had attended over forty Elton John concerts around the country.  Other than his family and his dog, Jewels, his pride and joy was his extensive museum quality entertainment memorabilia collection.  He built the collection over years of concerts, travel, and relationships with performers.  He was predeceased by his grandparents.  He is survived by his parents Jack & Charlene O’Brien of Byron, IL; sister Kathy O’Brien Gandolfi (Dr Michael Gandolfi) of Charleston, IL; brother Michael O’Brien (Paula Mitchell) of Riverwoods, IL, son Justin O’Brien of Arcola, IL; Nieces Jordyn Gandolfi, Taylor (Rico) Santos, Annie Gandolfi, Regan O’Brien, and Jeanette O’Brien.  Gary is also survived by his aunts and uncle and several cousins.  In addition to his family, Gary is survived by many, many close friends.  He so valued these friends and made time for them all.  The outpouring of love from all these friends has been an enormous gift to his family.  Funeral service will be held at 11:30 am, Wednesday, May 25, 2022 at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 764 N Stillman Rd. in Paynes Point (Oregon), IL with Reverend Andrew Kayes officiating.  Visitation will be at the church starting at 10:00 am until the beginning of the service.  Burial will be following the service at the church.  A memorial fund is established in Gary O’Brien’s name.  Farrell-Holland-Gale Funeral Home in Stillman Valley is assisting the family with arrangements.

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

10:00am - 11:30 pm (Central time)

Emmanuel Lutheran Church - Paynes Point

764 N Stillman Rd, Oregon, IL 61061

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Funeral Service

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Starts at 11:30 am (Central time)

Emmanuel Lutheran Church - Paynes Point

764 N Stillman Rd, Oregon, IL 61061

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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