Catherine O'Brien

Catherine Elizabeth O’Brien, age 56, passed away peacefully on March 8, 2019 to be with her Savior at her home in Phoenix, Ariz., in the company of her loving parents, older sister, Karol, and her caregiver, Jasmine. Cathy had fought a brave battle with cancer since February, 2018.

Cathy was born July 23, 1962, the third of five children of John and Darlene (Hannam) O’Brien at St. Mary’s Hospital in Decatur, Ill. She attended Holy Family Grade School and St. Teresa High School in Decatur and graduated from the University of Illinois with a BS degree in General Engineering. Following graduation from the U of I, she worked for Sargent and Lundy Engineers of Chicago for 35 years, performing piping stress analysis for nuclear power plants. Cathy lived and worked in Chicago for 25 years and spent the last 10 years in Phoenix.

In addition to her work, Cathy enjoyed cooking, baking, crafting, sewing and gardening. She created personalized birthday and Christmas gifts for her nephews and nieces that they looked forward to every year. We all have fond memories of her as Santa’s Elf at Christmas in Decatur. Family was very important to her and she never missed a chance to get together. She would bring the golf clubs, kites and bean bag toss games to entertain her nieces and nephews. Everyone enjoyed visiting her in Phoenix and spending time by her pool. She was greatly loved by her extended family and will be missed.

Cathy had a deep pride in her Irish heritage and had traveled to Ireland in addition to collecting things Irish. She was also an avid sports fan. While in Chicago, she held Bull’s season tickets, and enjoyed watching the Bears and NASCAR.

Cathy is survived by her parents, three sisters, Karol and Punit Kalra, Susan Smith, Margaret Aman; and brother, Daniel and Danielle Taylor. Also surviving are 11 nieces and nephews whom she loved dearly. She was preceded in death by her grandparents, Philip and Margaret (Carmody) O’Brien and Harry and Edna (Kellogg) Hannam; and one nephew, Christopher Aman.

Visitation will be held from 9 a.m. until time of Mass on Friday, March 15, 2019, at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Melrose, with Cathy's family present.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m., Friday, March 15, 2019, at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Melrose, with Father Michael E. Volkmer C.PP.S. officiating. Burial will be in Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Melrose beside her Grandmother O’Brien.

In lieu of flowers, a donation to the American Cancer Society or charity of your choice is suggested.

Condolences to the family may be left online at

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