Thomas Charles O’Brien

image of Thomas Charles O'Brien

Thomas Charles O’Brien

Thomas Charles O’Brien, 82, passed away peacefully on March 27, 2020. His beloved wife of 61 years spent his last day beside him. Tom was born July 15, 1937 in Illinois, the son of Walter A. and Virginia Carnahan. His mother died of complications from birth, so his father’s second wife, Norma Nelson became his mother. He met and married the love of his life, Merry,  while attending University of Michigan. Tom was a well loved, ardent supporter of Alcoholics Anonymous who performed service at many levels, and was proud to have been sober for 42 years.

Tom was a great spiritual explorer, perhaps his own words are best:

“I now rise to the spiritual mountain top. I rise above the limited earthly plane of problems & limitations. I am now pure spirit, liberated from the world of pain, sickness, war & death. I now project my soul into the peaceful realm of Shangri-La where I am in the eternal springtime of my soul’s immortality. All the dark shadows of earth now drop away from me. I now clear my mind of all the negative forces of the earth & my soul is bathed in the white magic Astral rays of peace, harmony, happiness, joy & love.’

Left to cherish his memory are his wife Merry, of Redmond, Wa.; his son, Kevin of Issaquah, Wa.; his son, Christopher of Batesville, Va.; five grandchildren, one great grandson; sister-in-law, Sue of Corvallis, Or.; sister-in-law, Joyce of Malvern, Pa.; and many other dear family and friends.

A virtual celebration of Toms life will take place on Saturday April 18 at 10am PST. For details on how to join us, please contact us the email:

20 Responses to “Thomas Charles O’Brien”

  • Jane Nelson says:

    The warmth of his heart and the sweetness of his spirit are still with us.

  • Steve Cuspard says:

    Like the favorable impact Tom has had on my life, My respect and love for him will never stop.

  • linda parker says:

    We will miss Tom and his many stories that were both encouraging and funny! RIP Love Fletcher and Linda from Sound Sobriety

  • Dave VanDuine says:

    I will miss Tom’s gentleness, caring and inner peace. Rest in peace my fiend.

  • Mike Schacht says:

    Rest in peace brother, your legacy will carry on.

  • Carina Winters says:

    I take comfort in knowing that you will always be with us, firmly embedded in our hearts.

  • Janice shearer says:

    Always injoyed ypur shares you will always be in our hearts

  • John Jessop says:

    I met Tom when he was visiting Virginia. He was a very nice man who loved his family. I’ve known his son,Chris for a long time, and he is an exceptional person. He’s like my younger brother. Rest In Peace, Tom. God bless you and your entire family.

  • Fred Ham says:

    I met Tom shortly after I got sober in 2003. He has been a trusted AA mentor and a true friend.
    Tom was the personification of all that our Fellowship represents.
    I will miss him.

  • Linda M Mills says:

    RIP brother Tom! You were always so welcoming and warm to all who came into your presence. Totally will be missed by your family and friends. 🙂

  • Robert Rutledge says:

    Had the pleasure of being Toms friend for 30 plus years..Wonderful man whom I will miss.. Thanks for all that Tom did!

  • Kathryn Rutledge-Hawes says:

    He was a warm gentle man! He helped me immensely in my first 8 years of Sobriety. He was one of the Winners I followed around at Benson Hill…You will be greatly missed. R.I.P. my dear friend Tom.

  • Janice says:

    Tom and Mary were dear friends for a very long time. I’ve always appreciated our time spent together with their knowledge their compassion and their commitments. May Tom rest in peace until I get to see him again.

  • Nina Joy Lawrence says:

    Hugs to you, dear Merry. I only met Tom once, at a workshop you were helping to lead, Merry, and I remember his humor, his warmth, his big, gentle bear presence. Everyone who knew him can probably still feel the sense of his presence they carry within them. Even I can, who only met him once. Much blessing he brought.

  • Marj Franke says:

    I loved Tom’s playfulness. His willingness to be Eeyore to Merry’s Tigger. You balanced each other perfectly.

  • Alleson Lansel says:

    Sweet Merry. Oh the stories you shared. Many fine memories.

    I did indeed meet the warmth of Tom’s big heart in person. So welcoming and kind.

    I’ve no doubt he’ll be sharing his loving energy wherever his travels take him. May he be at peace.

    And Merry may you be held in grace and may your healing be gentle.

  • Sue Marvin says:

    Merry, my heart is broken for you in your loss. I am so fortunate to have had the two of you in my life for all these years. You and I would never have been able to do half of the amazing (or crazy, depending on your point of view) things we’ve done together without Tom’s
    unfailing patience, kindness, and support. He was a prince. A prince with a really good sense of humor. He left a part of himself in each of our hearts and none of us will ever forget him. I love you so much. Sue

  • Nancy Nordgren Ferguson says:

    My thoughts and prayers go out to your family, having lost your beloved pilar of strength. Tom’s laugh was his signature that showed his outlook on life and deep, kind heart. He gave so much of himself to his family and his service in AA – an incredible protector and provider. I feel lucky to have known him and have his laugh and life view imprint my being. Blessings for all of his family!

  • Lyle Cook says:

    Tom was so helpful to me in the almost 30 years I knew him. Rest in peace. My condolences to Merry.


  • Steven bortz says:

    Tom will greatly missed he was a huge part of my sobriety over the years talking with Tom was always a blessing I will miss him

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