‘Saint Anne,’ remembered for both charity and love


Anne M. O’Brien, a Riverdale resident for more than 56 years, died on Sept. 8, at the age of 83.

Born Anne Fitzgerald on March 7, 1927 in Aughills, Castlemaine, County Kerry, Ireland, she was the fourth of seven children. She came to America in 1950 at 23.

Shortly after her arrival, she found the love of her life in Mr. O’Brien, also from County Kerry, the family said. They married in 1952 and moved to Riverdale, where they raised eight children on Fieldston Road.

Ms. O’Brien was involved in St. Margaret of Cortona Parish and was a member of a number of church organizations, including the Holy Name Society and The Riverdale Irish Society, according to son Brendan O’Brien, who is still a Riverdale resident. She was active in a multitude of Catholic charities, her family said.

She never forgot her Irish roots and spent many Sunday’s at Gaelic Park rooting for her native County Kerry teams, he said, and was proud to note that County Kerry usually won.

“We had the best childhood in the world growing up on Fieldston Road. It was a great upbringing. All of my brothers and sisters agree that our ethics, morals and humor stem from our parents,” Mr. O’Brien said.

The O’Brien family owned and operated a number of delicatessen/catering businesses in Riverdale. Ms. O’Brien was known for the best Irish Potato Salad and Irish Soda Bread in the land, her son said.

He said the crowds of family and friends who attended Ms. O’Brien’s wake and funeral were a testament to her life and legacy. She had earned the nickname “Saint Anne,” he said.

Ms. O’Brien was predeceased in January by her husband of 57 years, Michael J. O’Brien, and sons John, Kevin and Michael Jr.

She is survived by children Patrick O’Brien and his wife Noreen; Mary Anne O’Connell and her husband Dennis; Brendan O’Brien and his wife Aliceann; James O’Brien and his wife Jane; Annemarie Camuso and her husband Edward; Desmond O’Brien and his wife Eileen; 18 loving grandchildren and one great-grandchild; as well as her sisters Bernie, Peg, and Mary, all living in England.

A funeral Mass was celebrated at St. Margaret of Cortona Church Saturday, followed by interment at Gate of Heaven Cemetery.

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