William Joseph


WILLIAM JOSEPH "REDS" O'BRIEN was born in Camden NJ on January 21, 1913. He graduated from Camden Catholic High School in Camden in 1931. While at Camden Catholic he played on the basketball team, and was a member of the 1929 squad that competed for the national parochial school championship.

After marrying Shirley Poole in 1940, William J. O'Brien joined the Camden police force a few years later, in 1943. He served on the city police department until 1969, when he retired. He then took a position as an investigator with the Camden County Prosecutor's Office. He retired as a senior investigator in 1987.

The O'Brien family resided at 1016 Haddon Avenue in the late 1940s, and remained in Parkside for many years. William and Shirley O'Brien raised seven sons and twin daughters.

William Joseph "Reds" O'Brien passed away in Camden NJ on December 2, 2002 at the age of 89. After a funeral mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Camden, he was buried at Calvary Cemetery in Cherry Hill on December 7, 2002.  

Camden Courier-Post * May 16, 1950
William O'Brien - William Buzine - Engine Company 7 - Haddon Avenue
Robert Blake - Katherine Buzine - Mrs. Harry Prevost -
Mrs. Edward S. Hyde

Camden Courier-Post
August 12, 1950

Carmin Fuscellaro
Milton Cahill
William O'Brien
Eleanor Shaw
Hotel Plaza
William Miller
Benson Street
Dr. Herbert Weinberg

Camden Courier-Post

December 29, 1950


Camden Courier-Post * April 5, 1952
Thomas Murphy - George Wilmer - Liberty Street - Earl Quinton - William Kelly - William H. Neale
Clifford Carr - William O'Brien - John Huston - August Pflederer - George Ellis - Marshall Thompson 

Camden Courier-Post - December 24, 1957

South 3rd Street
James Johnson
William D. Neale
Leo Tomkins
Anthony Marino
Wilfred L. Dube
Nathan Jones
William O'Brien
Edward Fulton
Russell Young
John Huston
Vincent Conley

James P. McLaughlin

James W. Atkins
Evalena Watkins
Willie Simmons Carl H. Perry

West Jersey Hospital

Camden Courier-Post - Thursday, December 5, 2002

William O'Brien, 89, officer and detective

Courier-Post Staff

Mr. William Joseph "Reds" O'Brien, a Camden City police officer and county detective, died Monday with his family at his bedside at Cooper Hospital/University Medical Center. He was 89.

A Camden native, Mr. O'Brien graduated from Camden Catholic High School in 1931 and played on the school's famed 1929 basketball squad that competed in the national parochial championship.

Mr. O'Brien joined the Camden City police as a patrolman in 1943, said his wife of 62 years, Shirley. He investigated one of Camden's most infamous cases, the Howard Unruh mass murder in 1949.

Mr. O'Brien retired in 1969 and then served in the Camden County Prosecutor's Office until 1987, retiring as a senior investigator.

First Assistant Prosecutor James P. Lynch worked with Mr. O'Brien from 1982 to his retirement. Mr. O'Brien was beloved among the staff, he said.

"Bill was soft-spoken and gentlemanly in an old-school way," Lynch said. He was nicknamed "Reds" for his bright red hair.

A father of seven sons and twin daughters, Mr. O'Brien had 25 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

As children, the family spent a month at the shore, said son Francis, 58. Looking back, Francis wondered how his parents could afford the vacation while raising nine children. Every summer, Mr. O'Brien would rent a truck, drop off his family at the Surf City beach house and return by bus to the Parkside section of Camden where they lived.

An avid sports fan, Mr. O'Brien attended all of his sons' games at Camden Catholic and their college matches, too, said his youngest son Patrick, 44. Their father organized family trips to South Bend, Ind., to attend games by his favorite team, Notre Dame.

Patrick said the family picked a plot at Calvary Cemetery that overlooks the nearby Camden Catholic High School football field.

"He's got a good spot to watch the games," said Patrick.

A viewing will be held Friday from 7 to 9 p.m. at Blake- Doyle Funeral Home, 226 Collings Ave., Collingswood.

The funeral will begin Saturday at 8:30 a.m. at Blake-Doyle. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Camden.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Camden Catholic Development Fund, Route 38 and Cuthbert Boulevard, Cherry Hill 08002.

On December 2, 2002, of Pennsauken, aged 89 years.
Beloved husband of Shirley T. (nee Poole); devoted father of William J., Jr. & his wife, Dianne, of Marlton, Francis and his wife, Priscilla, of Shreveport, LA, Terrance & his wife, JoAnn, of Medford, Timothy & his wife, Mary Beth, of Whitehall, PA, Kevin & his wife, Mary Ann, of Marlton, Patrick & his wife, Colleen, of Palm Harbor, FL, Denise Nucifora & her late husband, Dennis and Eileen Mento of Marlton; 25 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren.
'Reds' was a member of Camden Catholic Class of '31. Mr. O'Brien retired from the Camden Police as a detective in 1969. William then served in the Camden County Prosecutor's Office until 1989, retiring as Senior Investigator. Mr. O'Brien is a member of the NJ State PBA.
Relatives and friends are invited to the Funeral on Saturday at 8:30AM from the BLAKE-DOYLE FUNERAL HOME, 226 Collings Ave., Collingswood. Funeral Mass 10AM in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Camden. Interment in Calvary Cemetery. Viewing Friday 7-9PM at the Funeral Home.
The family suggests memorials to the Camden Catholic Development Fund, Route 38 & Cuthbert Blvd., Cherry Hill, NJ 08002.

Camden Courier-Post

December 4, 2002