Frank O’Brien Obituary, Death – Frank L. O’Brien, III, 82, formerly of Villanova, PA, retired Founder and former CEO of O’Brien Energy Systems, died peacefully in Pennsylvania on October 20, 2021. Mr. O’Brien was the late Frank O’Brien Jr.’s and Elizabeth Creighton O’Brien’s son. He was the late Daniel Bryce O’Brien’s and Clarence “Rance” J. O’Brien’s brother. O’Brien II; and the late Jane McCarthy O’Brien’s ex-husband. Mr. O’Brien is survived by his three children, Frank L. O’Brien, IV, Alice J. O’Brien, and Arthur C. O’Brien; his sister, Missie Corey; his brothers, Gregory O’Brien and Patrick O’Brien; and his cherished partner, Jean Driver.
Mr. O’Brien led a charmed existence… one that was not without its difficulties. He was a hardworking entrepreneur who relished his triumphs. At his core, he liked the excitement of a business deal, and he was never without his yellow legal pad, newspapers, and periodicals, which he used to generate fresh company ideas. Whether large or small, each venture fed his insatiable interest for new ideas, learning, and, ultimately, the ambition to structure a deal. There were historic victories as well as the unavoidable setbacks. Despite the difficulties, he persevered with his indomitable Irish spirit, resourcefulness, courteous smile, focus, and dignity – his good personality and sense of humor shone through at all times.
Mr. O’Brien was born in Philadelphia to a multi-generation Irish family and raised in Newtown Square before moving to Villanova, PA, as well as Wellington and Delray, FL, before returning to Pennsylvania in recent years and settling in Phoenixville. He attended Cornell University and the Universidad de las Américas in México City after graduating from Malvern Preparatory School in 1957. Mr. O’Brien began his career with the O’Brien Machinery Co., which was founded by his grandpa, Frank L. O’Brien. Mr. O’Brien founded and controlled O’Brien Energy Systems, an innovative environmentally friendly company that pioneered cogeneration fuel and waste projects, resulting in the creation of an alternate energy source.
Frank shared his life-long hobbies in equestrian, house restoration, art, and antique collectible vehicles with family and friends while raising his family at the historic Red Rose Farm in Villanova with former wife Jane M. O’Brien. He exposed his family to the “horsey” culture, inspiring his children to learn the sport and sparking a lifelong shared interest in all things equestrian. While studying company concepts, Frank spent weekends with his family attending horse events and automotive shows. His passion for antique and exotic automobiles grew into a business that he shared with his children, particularly his two boys. With the help of business colleagues, family, and friends, the family entertained frequently and hosted fundraisers for their favorite causes.
Mr. O’Brien supported numerous business and non-profit organizations during his career, including the Devon Horse Show, the Franklin Institute, the Radnor Hunt Races and Brandywine Conservancy, Rosemont College, the USET, and the Young Presidents’ Organization. Mr. O’Brien valued his ancestry; he was a devout Catholic, a proud American and Philadelphian, a member of the Pennsylvania National Guard, and a veteran of the United States Army. Army.