Michael Shawn O’Brien, age 59, died Sept. 1, 2020 at the Cuyuna Regional Care Center in Crosby, MN. Mike was born June 19, 1961 to George and Dorothy (Kalberg) O’Brien in Brainerd, MN.
With the family cabin in the Crosslake area, he had the outdoors in his blood. He could swim like a fish (from lungs strengthened by playing Trumpet), had the grace and skill to slalom ski on any lake, fish like a seaman, and hunt to “provide for his family.” He also enjoyed riding motorcycle to and from work and across MN during his early years.
Mike had a God-given ability to hear the hum of an engine & fix what ailed it. This bode him well as he became a Jr World Class Snowmobile Champion in Syracuse NY at age 16, received his private pilot license before 17, Auto Mechanic license at 22, Aviation Powerplant license age 27, and Class B Chief Boiler Operator in his late 30’s. He used his gifts and talents to work at: Ace Hardware, Big Bear, Sears Auto, Woodland Hills Country Club, Wayzata Auto Center, Mueller Car Dealership, Basler Aviation, Jennie-O Turkey Store and Lakeside Foods. His collection of manuals (for all items with an engine) would put a school library to shame.
Mike met Annette Gifford while working at Sears Auto Center in South Mpls, then was married Nov 21, 1987 at the Nexus Assembly of God Church while attending Northland Technical College in Thief River Falls, MN. They were blessed with four children all having his mechanical ability, love for the outdoors, and smarts for Science and History.
After Mike’s 5 back surgeries from 2000-2003, and many recreational choices of his own demise, his path of life was drastically altered with the symptoms of Dementia. For the next 17 years, he suffered memory loss, then the ability to problem solve, and finally to be able to communicate his thoughts, walk, and swallow (even his favorite drink – Mt. Dew).
He is preceded in death by his brother Greg (2004) and mother Dorothy (2007). He is survived by his wife Annette, children Kyriann (& Chris) Harding of Savage, MN, Shannon and Shawn O’Brien of St. Cloud, and Samantha O’Brien of Crosby; his father, George O’Brien and a brother, Brad (Jill) O’Brien all of Alexandia. He was very proud of his four grandchildren: Carter Harding, Halen and Natalya Tholl, and Maylene Mariano. He always mesmerized them with his noises & whistles.
Mike’s funeral service will be held Tues., September 8, 2020 at the Heritage Assembly of God Church in Baxter, MN. Visitation will be at 10 a.m. and the service at 11 a.m. Bring your own lawn chair for the reception outside. Mike will be buried at the Riverside Cemetery in Brainerd, as he always wanted to be “Up North”. Thank you to Koop Funeral Home in Crosby, Heritage Church in Baxter, and many family and friends for supporting and assisting with the final arrangements. Mike in now free with his Lord and Savior, Jesus.