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Barbara Jean O’Brien

Posted By Hall-Wynne On January 28, 2019 @ 10:27 am In Durham,Obituaries | 9 Comments

DURHAM – Barbara O’Brien, age 72, died peacefully Sunday after a two-year battle with cancer.  She was surrounded by her loving family at home. She was born to the late Carl and Louise Gilliam in Alexandria, VA.

While raising five children in Orange, CT, she and her husband John O’Brien owned and operated multiple restaurant franchises.  In 1991, Barbara and John moved the family and made Chapel Hill, NC their home.  Barbara became a dedicated employee at the University of North Carolina’s Friday Center, retiring in 2012 after over 20 years of service to the University.  Barbara treasured time with family.

Barbara is survived by her beloved husband John of 49 years, sister Nancy Gilliam (Jim), her five children: John, Jr. (Sarah), Jennifer, Kevin (Monica), Timothy (DeWaal), Kristina Wilson (Wes), and her nine grandchildren: Connor, Avery, Claire, Coleman, Ryan, Jack, Madelyn, Dalena, and Hannah.  Barbara loved her nieces and nephews Richard (Ling), Suzanne (Harry), Jeffrey (Snowden), and Karen (Brian).

Barbara was preceded in death by her mother, Louise Gilliam, father, Carl Gilliam, parents-in-law, Rosemary and Frank O’Brien and sister in-law, Margery Furman.

The family would like to extend a sincere thanks to all of the doctors and staff at Duke Cancer Center as well as Transitions Hospice for their compassionate care.

A funeral mass will be held at Holy Infant Catholic Church, Durham, NC on Thursday, January 31st, 2019 at 11 AM. A visitation will be held at Hall-Wynne Funeral Service, Durham, NC on Wednesday, January 30th, 2019 from 5-7 PM.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Transitions LifeCare of Wake County.  250 Hospice Circle, Raleigh, NC 27607.

The O’Brien family is under the care of Hall-Wynne Funeral Service.

Condolences for the family of “Barbara Jean O’Brien”

Condolence from Candy on January 28th, 2019 12:30 pm

May God’s strength, peace, grace and love cover the entire family during the difficult days ahead as you grieve the loss of this special lady.

Condolence from Angela Baker on January 28th, 2019 12:50 pm

My heart was broken when I heard the news about the passing of my dear sweet friend Barbara. We worked together in the business office at the Friday Center for many years. She trained me to be an Accounting Technician for the University. She was ALWAYS willing to help anybody with her soft spoken voice. I will cherish all the moments we shared working , talking on the phone and lunch gatherings with coworkers after her retirement. She will surely be missed.

Condolence from SAIC Contracts and Property Community on January 28th, 2019 2:12 pm

Kristina the Contracts and Property community at SAIC want you to know that we are thinking of you as you go through this time of transition and taking care of all that comes with the loss of your Mother. With our warmest thoughts and prayers, may God wrap his loving arms and comfort you as only he can.


Condolence from Jamie Dowdy on January 28th, 2019 2:36 pm

So sorry for your loss, I know she fought the good fight. Prayers that God will give you strength and grace in the coming days, weeks, months and years. What a life well lived and what a testimony to a faithful wife, mother & grandmother.

Prayers & love,

Jamie Dowdy & Family (Linda & Nick Fisher’s daughter)

Condolence from Valerie Walker-Trusty on January 28th, 2019 8:44 pm

John and family:

My deepest condolences on Barbara’s passing. Barbara was always kind and sweet. I know it has been many years but I often thought about you guys. My prayers are with you and your family. Barbara is now your guardian angel!

Valerie Walker-Trusty

Condolence from Matthew Pinkel on January 30th, 2019 12:08 pm

We are very saddened to hear of your loss. We are praying for comfort and peace for you, Wes and your boys during this time difficulty.

With Sympathy,
Matthew & Courtney Pinkel

Condolence from Annette Madden on January 31st, 2019 10:18 am

I had the supreme privilege of working with Barbara for many years at the Friday Center. She managed our program accounts with precision, excellence and patience, since more often than not, she had to correct our numerous program and accounting mistakes! Barbara led with a quiet strength and her sweet and gentle spirit will be missed. I am honored to have worked with her as a colleague and a friend. Thinking of you all in prayerful support.

Condolence from Jacksonville SAIC Office on January 31st, 2019 1:24 pm

Our families here in Jacksonville, NC are thinking of your entire family as you grieve your loss. May God watch over your family and provide comfort during this time.

Condolence from Linda Resler on January 31st, 2019 2:16 pm

Krissy, praying that you and your entire family will feel the embrace of the God of All Comforts during this time, and in the weeks and months to come.

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