John O'Brien

November 11, 1937 ~ April 23, 2021 (age 83)


John F. O’Brien of Warrington, PA, formerly of Berkeley Heights, NJ, passed away at Doylestown Hospital, PA, on Friday, April 23, 2021 at the age of 83.

The visitation will be held at Paul Ippolito Berkeley Memorial, 646 Springfield Avenue, Berkeley Hts. NJ, on Friday, April 30, from 4-7PM. The funeral mass will be celebrated at Our Lady of Peace Church, New Providence, NJ, on Saturday, May1st, at 1PM. Please visit for additional information and to share condolence messages with the family. (Due to Covid-19, the funeral home will allow 50 guests inside at a time. Face masks and social distancing are required inside the funeral home and the church.) There will be a separate burial ceremony in Seneca IL at a later date.

John was born in Seneca, IL, to Elizabeth (Young) and James J. O’Brien Sr. After living in the Cleveland, OH area and Louisville, KY, he moved to Berkeley Heights. NJ in 1970 and resided in the area for 50 years before moving to PA.

John is survived by his loving wife of 59 years, Mary “Betty” (nee Petrie) and his loving daughter, Beth Lutes and her husband, Chuck, and his cherished grandson, Brenden Lutes. He is also survived by his brother James J. O’Brien Jr. (Cheryl), his sisters in law, Joan Cannon and Carol Petrie, and many loving nieces and nephews.

John received his BS at St. Ambrose University, Davenport, IA, and a Masters Degree in Chemistry from Perdue University. He held positions in chemical research at Harshaw Chemical in Cleveland, OH, and at Catalysts and Chemicals in Louisville KY, where he earned several patents. In 1970 he was appointed Plant Manager at the Englehard Industries Catalyst Manufacturing Facility in Newark, New Jersey. He worked at Englehard Industries in that capacity until 1983. He then became a chemical engineering consultant for the gas and oil industries. In late 1983, he traveled to Saudi Arabia where, over a two-year period, he worked as a consultant to their water purification industry. In 1987, he accepted a position as Plant Manager for Scientific Design Corp in Little Ferry, NJ. He retired in 2000.

In the mid-1980s, John joined the Knights of Columbus, Summit Council 783. He was elected Grand Knight 3rd Degree and Faithful Navigate 4th Degree of the Watchung Assembly. He also was a member of the 4th Degree Color Corp of the Knights of Columbus. He took the initiative to develop the Knights of Columbus State Employment Assistance Program to help Brother Knights who found themselves unemployed due to economic downturns. John was a member of the Summit Old Guard, the American Philatelic Society, and a 60-year member of the American Chemical Society. He enjoyed collecting stamps and coins, showing dogs, oil painting, reading, the opera, gardening, travel, and all things Irish.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations in John’s memory to Knights of Columbus Council 783, PO Box 295, Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922. Please be sure to designate the donation to the Knights of Columbus Relief Fund-John O’Brien.

To send flowers to John's family, please visit our floral store.


Graveside Service
May 8, 2021

11:00 AM
Mt. Calvary Cemetery

Seneca, IL 61360

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