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US Marine Corps


John B. "Jack" O'Brien

June 9, 1930 ~ April 14, 2018 (age 87)

John B. "Jack"​ ​O'Brien,​ ​87,​ ​of Portland and formerly ​of Peaks Island, died​ Saturday, ​April 14 at Maine Medical Center ​following a short illness​.​

Born in South Boston, Jack was the son of​ ​Francis and​ ​Helen (Rielly) O'Brien. He graduated from Hyde Park High School in 1947. Following graduation,​ ​he​ ​joined the U.S. Marine Corps and rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant in the Marine Corps Military Police,​ ​honorably serving​ ​four​ years. Jack married Jadine Raynes on November 2, 1952 and they had two daughters,​ Joy and Jill.

Jack had three main loves in his life. He​​ loved his family, his Irish heritage and​ ​the U.S. Marine Corps. His daughters called him a "​softie" ​be​cause he would grant their every wish. He traveled to Ireland several times and became more Irish every day ...​ talking with the sheepherders, the postmen, and the bar keeps.​ And, he always said there​ ​was no such thing as an "ex" Marine​ ​- ​once a Marine, always a Marine and he was proud of it.​

Jack was a scratch golfer and enjoyed a good match. He also enjoyed living part of the year on Peaks Island and he swam ​regularly ​in the cool Atlantic waters​. When presented with life’s dilemmas or other conundrums, Jack could often he heard replying “Not to worry, no worries” and things would work themselves out.

For a number of years, Jack worked in the car brokerage business in the Boston​ ​area. In 1957, he and his family moved to Portland. Jack worked at the Portland Post​ ​Office as a mail handler and served as President of the Mail Handlers Union as well as​ ​President of the union's New England District. He then returned to the automobile​ ​business and worked for a number of years for Jerry Waxman on Forest Ave. He​ ​eventually opened his own used car business in South Portland, which was noted for its​ ​large shamrock covered billboard.

Jack was a ​member of The American Legion and a ​life-long member of the Democratic Party and was a member of both​ ​the Portland City Democratic Committee and the Cumberland County Democratic​ ​Committee. He was also a delegate to numerous state conventions.​

From 1970 to 1974, Jack was a member of the 105th and 106th​ ​Maine Legislature​s​.​ ​He served on the Business Legislation Committee where he earned the nickname "Jack​ ​the Giant Killer" for his tough-mindedness and combative nature when coming out​ ​swinging against special interest groups. One lobbyist for the insurance industry once​ ​said, "For goodness sake, Jack, why don't you take some time off so we can get a goodnight's sleep".​

​In June of 1992, Jack ran successfully to fill an unexpired term a​s ​Cumberland ​County ​Register of​ ​Deeds. He then was easily reelected in 1994, 1998, and 2002,​ ​serving in that office​ ​through 2006​ ​for​ ​a total of fourteen years. Jack served as President of the Maine​ ​Register of Deeds​ Association and as Chair of its Legislative Committee.​ ​In 2008, Jack was called out of retirement to run for Cumberland ​County ​Register of​ ​Probate​.​ He was twice elected and served through 2016 for a total of eight years.

Jack​ is survived by ​his wife of​ 65 years,​ ​Jadine of Portland;​ ​his daughter ​Jill​ and her husband, Peter Thiel​ ​of Peaks Island​ ​and their children​ Caitlin​ ​of Maynooth, Ireland and Robert of​ ​College Park, Georgia​. Jack is also survived by his sister, Helen ​(O'Brien) ​Copello, ​sister-in-law, Peggy​ (Hynes) ​O'Brien​, and numerous nieces and nephews.​ Jack was predeceased by his daughter Joy O'Brien, his brother Francis O'Brien, Jr., sister-in-law Edna (McPhee) O’Brien, and his brother​ ​Richard O'Brien.

Visitation will be held from 5:00 – 7:00 PM on Friday, April 20, 2018 at A.T. Hutchins Funeral Home, 660 Brighton Ave.  ​​A ​Funeral Mass will take place ​​at 10:00 AM on Saturday, April 21, 2018 at St Joseph Catholic Church, 673 Stevens Ave. with​ interment ​following ​at Evergreen Cemetery in Portland.

Memorial donations may be made to:​ ​​American Legion Randall-MacVane Post 142, P.O. Box 118, Peaks Island, ME 04108.

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