Charles W. O'Brien Sr., a retired crane operator, died of a blood disorder Saturday at St. Agnes Hospital. The Ellicott City resident was 79.
Born in Baltimore and raised in Remington, Mr. O'Brien was called "Pat" after the popular movie star of the era. He attended Margaret Brent Elementary School.
Mr. O'Brien was a truck driver for Potts & Callahan in the late 1940s, then joined the Army and was a military police officer at Fort Meade.
Shortly after his discharge from the Army, Mr. O'Brien became an oiler and operator of heavy machinery. For more than 20 years, he operated cranes for Arundel Crane Service and R.E. Linder Steel Erection, helping to build many area structures, including Baltimore Beltway overpasses, additions to St. Agnes Hospital, the Garmatz Federal Court House and Annapolis Mall. In the mid-1970s, he ran a crane atop Baltimore's City Hall during a major renovation.
He was a member of Local 37 of the International Union of Operating Engineers.
His wife of nearly 50 years, the former Dorothy Walterhoefer, died in 2001.
A Mass was offered Wednesday at St. Augustine's Roman Catholic Church, where he was a member.
Survivors include two sons, Charles W. O'Brien Jr. of Ellicott City and Joseph F. O'Brien of Abilene, Texas; two daughters, Eileen Arnold and Nancy Connolly, both of Ellicott City; and six grandchildren.