Dale F. O’Brien


Dale F. O’Brien, 88, lifelong Superior resident, died peacefully, Wednesday, April 8, 2020 at Twin Ports Rehab Center in Superior.

He was born in Superior, December 7, 1931, the son of Vern and Agnes (Peterson) O’Brien. He celebrated his tenth birthday with news of Pearl Harbor.

Dale served his country honorably in the United States Army 518 Signature Corps during the Korean Conflict. For his remarkable service, he was the recipient of several medals including; the Merit Unit Citation, Korean Service Ribbon with a Bronze Campaign Star; the United Nations Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and Republic of Korean Presidential Unit Citation.

He was united in marriage to Charlene Heirman on May 31st, 1952. They would have celebrated sixty-eight years of love and being together this year.

Dale was a proud employee of AT&T and Wisconsin Bell, retiring after over thirty-seven years of service. Dale was involved in establishing microwave communication technology in northern Wisconsin enabling private phone lines, lowering call response times, and improving long distance calls.

Dale was a member of the Superior Elks Lodge #403, the Belgian Club, the American Legion, and the V.F.W. He was also a lifetime member and past president of the AT&T Pioneers, a community service organization. Dale initiated many programs including providing and repairing telecommunications devices (TDD) for the deaf and hard of hearing, taking flowers to nursing home residents, and assembling a clown troupe for parades, hospital visits, and participation in local events.

Dale enjoyed golf and bowling, making many lifelong friends along the way. He also treasured meeting his friends at Lakeview Lodge and other establishments where everyone seemed to know his name. He especially enjoyed spending time at their cabin at Lake of the Woods in Solon Springs. It was his home away from home and “happy place” where he could watch the Twins and Vikings games. Whenever he was off to the cabin, his faithful springer spaniel Abby kept him company. Most recently, his pup Nitro was his constant shadow. He longed for April when the cabin would open and rued November when a successful deer camp closed it down.

He loved his family and was always willing to help out where needed. There were many calls to “Dad/Grandpa” to solicit advice, borrow tools, or pick his brain. He was proud of his family and gave freely of his jokes and opinions whether you wanted them or not.

Dale was a long time member of St. Francis Xavier Church and made wonderful memories with his wife, Charlene, on trips with the St. Francis Travel Club. Dale and Charlene attended mass in their usual pew, seated among parish friends. We know he has now fulfilled his wish to walk with Jesus.

Dale was known as the “miracle man” by his family as he weathered many challenges over the years and yet always seemed to come out a survivor. He was as tough as they come, persevering when others would have folded. He was wounded in the service, was in a major car crash, fire, an explosion, overcame many cancers, and more. We thank all who cared for him through it all. Special thanks to Dr. Friday who helped him more than he can know.

He is survived by his beloved wife, Charlene O’Brien, Superior, WI; daughters, Melissa (Jeff) Owsley, Woodbury, MN, and Catherine (Rod) Anderson, Osseo, WI; sons, John (Tammy) O’Brien, Iron River, WI, and David (Becky) O’Brien, Cloquet, MN; grandchildren, Nickolas and Delaney Owsley, Rebecca (Pete) Andersen, Caitlin (Chance) Prigge, Alyssa (Greg) Basthemer, Sean O’Brien, Lindsy (Angie) Mason, and Kelly (Tim) Beaster; sister, Geraldine (Len) Pesis, of Nevada; several nieces and nephews; and great-grandchildren, Peder and Katharine Andersen, Oscar Prigge, Bennet, Griffyn and Keeton Basthemer, Eli Mason, and Kimball and Crosby Beaster. He is preceded in death by his infant son, Tracy O’Brien; and his parents.

From Dale’s Irish roots, we take comfort in these words: “May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be always at your back, and until we meet again, may God hold you in the Palm of his hand.”

Due to CDC guidelines and Governor mandates, a Memorial Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church at a later date.

The Lenroot-Maetzold Funeral Home, 1209 E. 5th Street, Superior, is assisting the family with arrangements. To leave a condolence or sign the guestbook, please visit our website at

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