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Emma U. (Pitman) O'Brien

Born: Sun., Sep. 22, 1918
Died: Thu., Apr. 16, 2020

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Emma Ulrich O’Brien (nee Pitman)

September 22, 1918 – April 16, 2020 (age 101)



Emma U. O’Brien

Emma, “Mom”, Mom O’B”, “Grandmom”, “Gigi” and most affectionately, “Zem”, age 101, most recently of West Chester, PA, passed away Thursday evening.

Emma was born and raised in Conshohocken, PA. The second of 4 children, Emma grew up enjoying swimming in the lake with her older brother George, shooting skeet, singing in the chorus and acting in high school plays. Emma was also a cheerleader and Editor in Chief of the Conshohocken High newspaper.

Emma met her future husband in the late 1930’s while working at Lit Bothers Department Store in Center City Philadelphia. Emma married John J. O’Brien (1906-1985) in 1940. After initially residing in Conshohocken, in 1948 Emma and John settled into a house on Myrtlewood Avenue in Upper Darby. There Emma and John raised their six children, all of whom attended St. Bernadette’s Grade School in Drexel Hill. Emma was an enthusiastic volunteer coach for the St. Bernadette’s softball and volleyball teams.

Emma was employed by an upholstery and furniture design company for more than 25 years; she finally retired at age 75. Never one to remain idle, Emma decided to volunteer as an aide at Riddle Memorial Hospital, where for 15 years she enjoyed the opportunity to help patients and staff. 

For many years Emma spent her summers in Cape May, New Jersey with her sister Mary and brother-in-law Elwood, her brother Bob and sister-in-law Gloria, and her daughter Nancy and son-in-law Walt and their children. 

While in her 80’s Emma had an unforgettable time visiting Ireland with many of her children. While there, she met and shared a glass (or two) with her late husband’s cousin, John Dunne and his family. 

Emma most recently resided at Bellingham Retirement West Community in West Chester, PA., where she is remembered fondly by her friends as “an inspiration to us all.”

Emma was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother. Her greatest joy and greatest gift were her large and boisterous family.  Emma’s “retirement” years were spent with much joy and enthusiasm at country and western line dances, holidays, parties, crab nights in Maryland, and cook outs with her 6 children, 17 grandkids and the 19 great grands. 

Emma was predeceased by her beloved husband John, and by her siblings and their spouses: George Pitman (Edith), Mary (Elwood Freas), and Robert Pitman (Gloria).

Emma is survived by her six children: Gerry Sobel (Rick), Kathy Buckley (Jim), Ellen O’Brien, Nancy Powell (Walt), Kevin O’Brien (Lori), Suzanne O’Brien (Steven Riley), and her beloved grands and great grands mentioned above.

A private Mass of Christian Burial is being held for Emma’s children and spouses on Tuesday, April 21 at 10:30 a.m. Streaming will be available via content.jwplatform.com/St. Bernadette of Lourdes Live Stream. Private interment at Sts. Peter and Paul Cemetery, Springfield PA, will immediately follow.

A Celebration of Life will be scheduled for a later date.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Emma’s charity of choice, Emma O'Brien Fund, St, Jude’s Hospital for Children at stjude.org.







































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Michael Gibbons
   Posted Mon April 20, 2020
We are so sorry to hear of Mrs. O'Brien's passing, but extremely grateful that we had the opportunity to meet OB's Mom at he and Lori's wedding. When someone pointed out Mrs. O'Brien to us so we could say hello we were struck by how 'young' she was. It was so inspiring to meet such a fine, lovely person!

God Bless to Mrs. O'Brien and Her Family!
Michael and Amanda Gibbons

Rich and Donna Golato
   Posted Tue April 21, 2020
Nancy and family,

Sorry to hear of your Mom's passing. She certainly lived a rich, full life with a wonderful legacy of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time.

Love, Rich & Donna

Judy Smith
   Posted Tue April 21, 2020
Kathie, Jim and family,
I am so sorry to hear of Mrs. O'Brien's passing. What a loss - such a sweet and spunky lady! It is a beautiful life to read about - you can feel all of her love for her family in every word of her obituary. I will always remember her fondly and how happy she was when I sent some oysters for fritters! What an inspiration to everyone and someone who actually embraced life for her whole life! Love to all. Judy

Irene Norcross
   Posted Wed April 22, 2020
I am truly sorry for your loss. I feel privileged to have been Emma's hospice volunteer/ friend. She enriched my life. She was the most positive person I ever met no matter the circumstance as well as being kind, funny and loving. She was up on everything from current events to sports and we had many lively conversations. I considered her a dear friend and she will never be forgotten.

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