HAMLET — Richard Stanley “Rick” O’Brien came into the world on Oct. 27, 1945 and after a hard-fought battle with cancer passed away on May 4, 2023.
Rick was the son of Benjamin Hycel “Mike” and Beatrice Stanley O’Brien of Hamlet. He graduated from Hamlet High School in 1964, where he met the love of his life and wife of 56 years, Carol Clark O’Brien. They had a son, Richard Landon “Ritchie” O’Brien.
Rick was a good athlete growing up and excelled in numerous sports. He lettered in baseball, basketball, and football while attending Hamlet High School. With the help of his coach, Charlie Bishop, he was awarded a scholarship to play both baseball and basketball at Edwards Military Institute in Salemburg, North Carolina. He later attended Pembroke State University. He also served in the National Guard for six years. He was known to “thumb” to the beach for a little shagging on the sand, even if he was just 14 years old. He was an avid golf and tennis player as well.
Rick was a born salesman. He sold mobile homes, clothes and cars. He could sell shoes to a snake. Working in the retail clothing industry for many years equipped him to become the co-owner of O’Brien-Whitfield Inc. and later Jeans and Things. He spent many years in the automobile industry working for Russell Bennett Chevrolet, Griffin Toyota and Dieffenbach Chevrolet.
He was known by many nicknames, but his favorite was, “Pop.” Being a grandfather was the joy of his life. He loved watching his grandsons play baseball. Benjamin Clark and Daniel Landon were the sparkles in his eyes. He always encouraged them to do their best no matter the outcome and was always proud of them.
Rick was preceded in death by his parents, Benjamin Hycel and Beatrice Stanley O’Brien; and sister, Cynthia Gail O’Brien.
He is survived in death by his lovely wife, Carol Clark O’Brien; son, Richard Landon “Ritchie” O’Brien (Joyce); grandsons, Benjamin Clark O’Brien and Daniel Landon O’Brien; brother-in-law, Jerry( Jane) Clark; nephew, Scott (Julie) Clark (Camden, Cayda and Graham). He is also survived by many O’Brien, Stanley and Garris cousins and his walking partner, his dog Lizzy.
Rick loved the beach and spent his retirement enjoying the coast. He was a fun, spirited soul who always wanted to tell a joke and make everyone laugh. He enjoyed his lunch bunch group on Thursdays with friends and listening to beach music. He will be missed and remembered by so many.
A celebration of life will be held Monday May 8, 2023, at the First Presbyterian Church in Hamlet. The family will receive visitation from 12:30-2 p.m. in the fellowship hall with service to follow at 2:30. Burial will be at Richmond County Memorial Park in Rockingham.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating in memory of Rick to the First Presbyterian Church of Hamlet, 200 Rice St., Hamlet, NC 28345; or McLeod Hospice, PO Box 100551, Florence, SC 29502-0551.
Online condolences may be made at watson-kingfuneralhome.com. Watson-King Funeral Home in Hamlet is serving the O’Brien family.