Globe Gazette Obituary

Harold E. O'Brien

MASON CITY - Harold E. O'Brien, 91, of Mason City, died Thursday (Jan. 28, 2010) at the Iowa Veterans Home, Marshalltown.
A funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. today, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2010, at St. Patrick's Catholic Church, 1405 N. Federal St., Hampton, with the Rev. Bernard Grady officiating. Interment will be in the Hampton Cemetery.
Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church.
Memorials may be given to the Harold E. O'Brien Memorial Fund.
Harold was born on Dec. 4, 1918, in Geneva, Iowa, the son of Edward W. and Mary Angeline (VanHouten) O'Brien. He graduated from Geneva High School.
Harold moved to Mason City in 1940 and attended Hamilton Business College. Harold then served in the U.S. Army during World War II.
He worked as a truck driver at Lehigh Portland Cement Company for 30 years. Harold retired from Lehigh in 1981.
He married Norma E. (Carson) Ketchum on Jan. 31, 1987, at Holy Family Catholic Church in Mason City. He was a member of Holy Family Catholic Church, life member of the Knights of Columbus, and a member of the VFW.
Harold umpired little league baseball games for 15 years, enjoyed bowling, where he was Mason City Senior Champion in 1984.
Harold will be most remembered for his love of checkers. He was a former Iowa state champion in checkers and competed nationally at the age of 82. The "Checker King" a documentary chronicling Harold's journey through a national tournament received national attention.
For the last few years, Harold lived in the Iowa Veterans Home, Marshalltown.
Harold is survived by two sisters, Mary Ann Oppold, of Raleigh, N.C. and Julia Kastner, of Sheboygan, Wis.; many nieces and nephews.
Harold was preceded in death by his parents, wife, Norma; brothers, Bernard, Phillip, Edward, and James; sisters, Rose Kelley and Sr. Juana (Rita) O'Brien.
Arrangements with Major Erickson Funeral Home & Crematory, 111 N. Pennsylvania Ave. Mason City. 641-423-0924.

Published in Globe Gazette from January 29 to January 30, 2010

You can see the film "The Checker King" free, which I have this documentary on DVD with some other checker events.  If you want a copy let me know.  You can also read the Fanlight Film Production review

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