Christian 19

Thomas O’Brien

May 3, 1936 ~ June 27, 2021 (age 85)

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Thomas O’Brien, 85 of Avon, Indiana was born into eternal life in June 27, 2021. He was surrounded by his loving family at the time of his passing. 

Tommy was a modern day Celtic storyteller serving as a lawyer. There wasn’t much he loved more than hearing a good story -- and the telling, and telling, and telling... His love of a good story probably helped form his love for the law. He believed everyone deserved due process, and due process always began with a story. Some of those stories led to offers of land, cows, or some other “precious” thing in lieu of cash. He later reflected on the folly of passing on several of those parcels of land.

Between college stints he served in the US Air Force as a firefighter supporting training missions in southern Indiana. He relished telling the exploits of the pilots, firemen, and fellow airmen. As one might expect, there were many odes to exemplary military service. But somehow his adventures were a mere whisper while the crazy exploits of others earned many spoken words.

Somewhat reluctantly Tommy lived a second life as a landscaper and pond specialist. When he and the love of his life, Mary, needed more yard then their condo provided they purchased a corner lot with a flat, flood-prone yard. First he had to move all the boulders painstakingly collected for the condo to the house. Then, over the decades he moved many more tons of boulders, stones, dirt and mulch. Various family members were drafted to release rock from the wrong part of the county and bring it to their home. The mounds were sculpted to hold ponds and waterfalls. He eventually became a master gardener and helped create a private bird-filled retreat from the world.

Moving boulders was excellent training for another fulfilling role, Santa Claus. Earlier in life he spent many a year as an Ebenezer Scrooge bah-humbugging his way through the holidays. However, one day he was asked to be Santa, so, fake beard and all he became Santa. This turned into a yearly labor of love. Over the years he developed a following from repeat families and friends. His joy was seen, felt and shared by many.

Tommy was born as Thomas Joseph O'Brien in Indianapolis, IN, son of Thomas R. O’Brien and Beatrice (Keller) O’Brien. His surviving siblings are Beann (O’Brien) deHebreard, John (Jack) O’Brien, and James E. (Jim) O’Brien. His children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren all will miss his love and mischievousness.

Friends and family will gather on Wednesday, July 7, 2021 at Mary Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Danville, Indiana from 9 am until 10 am.  Mass of Christian Burial will begin at 10 am.  Burial will take place in New Winchester Cemetery.

Arrangements are entrusted to Eric M.D. Bell Funeral Home in Pittsboro, Indiana.  All are encouraged to share thoughts, prayers, and memories with Tommy's family on his memorial page found on the funeral home's website, .


May perpetual light shine upon him. 


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