DES MOINES -- Donald Joseph "Red" O'Brien of Des Moines and formerly of Emmetsburg, died of natural causes on Monday, May 7, 2012, at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. today, Thursday, May 10, at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Des Moines. A memorial service and urn burial will take place at a later date in Emmetsburg. The Iles Funeral Homes Grandview Park Chapel is in charge of arrangements.
Donald was born on Dec. 23, 1925, to John and Ellen "Nellie" (Neary) O'Brien. He graduated from St. Mary's High School in Emmetsburg, and was drafted into the United States Navy at the age of 18. He served in the Pacific during World War II. He obtained a business degree from Loras Catholic College in Dubuque in 1951, using the G.I. Bill.
Donald was a contract auditor in several states and traveled to other countries, including Greenland, to perform audits. He also worked for two years at Ford Motor Company in Detroit, Michigan.
Donald married his wife, Carmen (now deceased), while living in Palisades, CA. In the early 1980s, he returned to college and earned an R.N. degree. He moved back to Emmetsburg in 1985 to live in his childhood home.
Donald was a person of strong Catholic faith and attended Mass daily as long as his health permitted. When his health began to fail in 2010, he moved to Des Moines to live with his sister, Helen Blasco.
Donald is survived by his brother, John O'Brien; sister, Helen Blasco; and many nieces and nephews who loved him dearly. He was the family historian, known for his genealogy research. He was proud of his Irish heritage and being descended from one of the original Irish families who founded Emmetsburg.
The family would like to thank the nursing, medical, and pastoral staffs at Mercy Medical Center for the exceptional care they provided Donald.
Memorial contributions may be made to Holy Family Catholic Church in Emmetsburg or a charity of the donor's choice in loving memory of Donald.