Thomas Thaddeus O'Brien ("Mister") Thomas Thaddeus O'Brien ("Mister"), age 78, was born in Everett, Washington on November 19, 1933 to William J. and Mary Manilla (Prindiville) O'Brien. Due to an unanticipated illness, on September 9, 2012, he passed away peacefully in the loving presence of his wife, son and daughter. Growing up in Everett, Washington as the seventh child out of nine children in an Irish Catholic family, he learned quickly the give and take of making it in a world that presented many challenges. As an elementary age school boy, he gave the nuns at Our Lady of Perpetual Help and Immaculate Conception elementary...
Thomas Thaddeus O'Brien ("Mister")
Thomas Thaddeus O'Brien ("Mister"), age 78, was born in Everett, Washington on November 19, 1933 to William J. and Mary Manilla (Prindiville) O'Brien. Due to an unanticipated illness, on September 9, 2012, he passed away peacefully in the loving presence of his wife, son and daughter.
Growing up in Everett, Washington as the seventh child out of nine children in an Irish Catholic family, he learned quickly the give and take of making it in a world that presented many challenges.
As an elementary age school boy, he gave the nuns at Our Lady of Perpetual Help and Immaculate Conception elementary schools a few gray hairs. However, they managed to mold his character into the man we know today.
Growing up his love for football guided the direction he would take in life. From the time he was old enough to understand the game of football, he knew his destiny. From listening to Notre Dame football on the radio as a young boy, to being Frank Leahy's water boy for the Fighting Irish against the University of Washington at Husky stadium, to quarter backing the Everett High School Seagulls, to becoming a high school teacher and football coach – he recognized that teaching and the game of football provided the platform for him to make a difference in kid's lives.
Tom graduated from Everett High School in 1952. After a brief stay at Everett Junior College, he enlisted in the US Army. After serving his country for three years, he was honorably discharged in 1955.
The G.I. Bill and many part-time jobs, gave him the opportunity to continue his education toward a college degree from Seattle University in 1960. He later earned his master's degree from Seattle University. His administrative credentials were from Central Washington University.
Tom began his teaching and coaching career in 1960 at Marquette High School where he began to apply the lessons he had learned from his teachers and coaches. And it was here that Tom became known as "Mister". The consolidation of Yakima's Catholic high schools in 1967 took him to the new Carroll High School where he continued to teach and coach until 1974. He often recalled and shared the fond memories of those years. Some of his happiest moments were when former players and students called or visited to talk with "Mister". He absolutely loved his Marquette and Carroll students and players.
Davis High School was his next opportunity and he loved this new challenge. "Mister's" reputation followed him from Carroll and the Davis students soon learned that "Mister" meant you got to class on time, acted with integrity and treated others the way you would want to be treated. Here too, he fell in love with his students and players. The Davis students and players hold a special place in his heart. At Davis, he had the special opportunity to coach his son in football and follow his daughter on the volleyball court.
Next to watching Notre Dame football and coaching football, his passion for teaching his students United States history was one of his life's missions. Of course, he did get side tracked once in awhile, adding in a bit of Irish history along the way. Due to his great Irish story telling skills, sometimes his students (and son and daughter) were a little confused as to which wars and U.S. battles he actually participated in!
After hanging up his football cleats and whistle in 1982, he completed his administrative internship at Madison Alternative High School (Yakima School District). Once again, he fell in love with the students and staff he worked with as an administrative intern.
"Mister" retired from the Yakima School District in 2000. His last stop in his long and fulfilling career brought him back to where he started in parochial schools, the new La Salle High School. While at La Salle, he continued to be as active a participant in the football program as his health permitted and assisted any way he could from home. Unfortunately, this year his health did not permit him to attend opening night kick-off for the La Salle 2012 football season, but he was with them in spirit and always will be.
From Marquette, to Carroll, to Davis and finally La Salle, "Mister" relished every moment with every student, ball player, colleague and member of the community. Education and coaching were his passion. Every student and ball player held a special place in his heart.
Personal honors include: 1983 Selected to be the Head Coach of the East for the East/West All Star football team, 1990 Induction into the Washington State Football Coaches Hall of Fame, 1998 Teacher of the Year for the Yakima School District/Finalist for Teacher of the Year for the State of Washington, 2002 Fred Redmon Service Award, Recipient of the Crystal Apple Educator Award for Yakima School District.
He was a lifetime member of the American Coaches Association and a past president of the Washington State Coaches Association.
Tom was preceded in death by his parents; brothers Jack, Bernard, Mickie and Denis; and his sisters, Mary Ellen Keast and Josephine Hatch. He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Alice; and their children Thomas M. O'Brien (Julie) of Kennewick, WA; and daughter Mary E. O'Brien (Doug) of Everett, WA; two grandchildren, Sarah C. O'Brien and Thomas R. O'Brien, both of Kennewick, WA; a sister, Eileen Cassidy of Riverside, CA; and a brother, Robert E. O'Brien of San Mateo, CA; along with numerous nieces and nephews.
Tom was a devout Catholic throughout his life and member of St. Paul's Cathedral parish. He is now resting in peace in God's hands.
Visitation and viewing will be held at the Keith & Keith Ninth Avenue Chapel on Thursday and Friday, September 13 and 14 from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. Vigil services will be held Friday, September 14, 2012 at 7:00 PM at Keith and Keith Ninth Avenue Chapel. Mass of Christian Burial will be Saturday, September 15, 2012 at 10:00 AM at St. Paul's Cathedral. Burial will be at Evergreen Cemetery (4504 Broadway), Everett, WA on September 21, 2012 at 2:00 PM at the family plot.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers memorials may be made to La Salle High School, 3000 Lightning Way, Yakima, WA or the charity of your choice. To celebrate the life of Mr. Thomas O'Brien and share a memory visit www.keithandkeith.com.