Joseph Laurence O’Brien

Joseph Laurence O’Brien, 29, of Emerson, passed away on Saturday, September 26, 2020.

Joseph was a beautiful and gentle son, brother, uncle and friend to many. His shy smile, kind heart, sharp intellect and understated sense of humor brought laughter and happiness to everyone he met. 

Joey was a talented cook, though his favorite meals were those made by his mother. Our favorite memories were spent around the dinner table together as a family. 

A lover of the outdoors, Joey grew up camping and fishing with his father and brother in Montauk and enjoyed snowboarding with his sister in New Jersey, Vermont and Colorado. Most recently, Joseph discovered a passion for golf and spent much of his free time at the range or on the course with his father.

A graduate of Montclair State University, Joseph held a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science. 

Joey was a man of few words, but when he spoke, it was thoughtful and it counted. His intelligence, clever wit and high-pitched belly laugh could light up a room. 

Joseph is survived by his loving parents, Laurence and Anita O’Brien; his sister Halley O’Brien, her husband, Joseph Hession and their beautiful son, Miles; his brother and best friend, James O’Brien, as well as his many aunts, uncles, cousins, dear friends and his cat, “O.G. Pigs”, whom he adored.

A private memorial service will be held for family and friends on Thursday, October 1st. 

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the St. Jude Children’s Hospital at


  1. Susan Rose Romano

    Dear Mr and Mrs O’Brien and family:
    My prayers and thoughts are with you all at this difficult time. May you be consoled by God’s great love and mercy.

  2. Bree McTeigue Thomson

    My deepest condolences to the O’Brien family. I have many memories with Joe that consist of laughter. I know how much you meant to Joey. My thoughts and prayers are with you always.

    With love,
    Bree McTeigue Thomson

  3. Mr. and Mrs. O’Brien I am so sorry for your loss. I was a member of Joey’s Zoom group on Wednesday nights. Understandably Joey was quiet at first, bout it didn’t take long for him to win the group over with his honesty and thoughtfulness. I am a recovering alcoholic and my wife was on the kidney transplant list and I tried to advise Joey with my life experiences. He was open and trusting when he talked to me, even teasing me about my bad “Dad” jokes, which my own kids do too. I was the one who asked him for a number at the beginning of each group meeting. He, in turn, always asked how my wife was. Hindsight is 20-20 but I only wish we had exchanged phone numbers. Be proud of Joey, he was a caring person, and had a big heart. He will be missed by the members of our group, and I’m sure by all who knew him. By the way, my wife got a kidney transplant Friday night, and I choose to believe Joey helped somehow.

  4. I’m so sorry to hear of this. I met Joey at Pinelands Recovery and although we only were together a few short weeks, we became close. I enjoyed joking around and competing with him. I enjoyed his company. And I’m so heartbroken that this has happened. I pray that your family finds peace.

  5. Dear Anita and Larry, I’m so sorry For the loss of your son Joseph. I can’t even imagine how heartbroken you are. He was very lucky to have you both as parents. you have probably heard this before, but it really is true that time really does a lot to ease your hurt, and it is also true that you will remember all the good times you had with him.
    God give you strength to get by this, And I know he will.

  6. Very sorry for the loss of your son and brother. Being an Emersonian, now Vernonite for 30 years I have come to know the quality of the family by Halley and Joe’s passionate care filled work here in Vernon and the snow sport industry. I recall many a Thursday afternoons boarding the school bus at Emerson JR SR high-school for ski trips to Great Gorge and Vernon Valley. I see Joey had a passion in play, study and career in the outdoors. The love of God’s gifts of the outdoors connects us all! May God keep and bless you all…

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