ALBANY – On the morning of October 13, 2015, Ed passed away peacefully after a three-year battle against cancer.
Ed O’Brien was born in the City of Albany, New York on August 23, 1956. He was the fifth child of six, third son, of Eileen E. Ruth and John (Jack) T. O’Brien, Jr.
As a toddler, Ed would sit in a gray, metal wash tub in front of the family black and white television set, wearing earmuffs, mimicking sportscaster Jim McKay — one of his heroes. If YouTube had been invented, video of Ed would have been trending.
Ed made his radio debut during a show called “Teenagers in Country Music” in 1970. Ed’s mother would drive him to station WOKO Radio very early each Saturday morning with his younger sister, Maureen, in tow. Dusty Miller, the host, knew that this 14-year-old volunteer was a special individual and was going to become an outstanding talent.
Radio became Ed’s passion. His booming voice, natural cadence, affability, quick wit, jeopardy-like intelligence, inspiration and ability to connect with people, made Ed a natural broadcaster and journalist.
The nuns at St. James Institute and Cardinal McCloskey High School often had to rein him in, but when local radio personality, Don Weeks, hired him at WGY Radio at age 15, he told Ed to relax and have fun. Don’s guidance and friendship helped shape Ed’s continuing years in radio.
Boom Boom Brannigan from WABY Radio worked with Ed in the 1970’s when radio was at its best. The radio community was a committed crew where people learned how to cue up a record, write a news story in 30 seconds, broadcast the day’s events and report sports scores – 22 times over.
Love for radio broadcasting always stayed with Ed and he would jump back into radio in the 1990’s at WTRY Radio where Walt Adams offered Ed wise career advice. Ed was truly grateful for his friendship.
Nonetheless, television sports broadcasting in the 1970’s became Ed’s career path when he was hired part-time at WNYT TV, Channel 13.
Ed’s incredible memory for sports statistics and his ability to create excitement in his play-by-play, led to his full-time sports reporting with Rip Rowan when he was hired by Tom Bryson at WTEN TV, Channel 10 in 1977. Rip and Ed were a formidable sports reporting duo. Ed loved his job and trusted in the experience of the finest reporters in the Capital Region while working at WTEN TV and making life-long friends.
In 1982, Ed interviewed Reggie Jackson and asked “Mr. October” about leaving the Yankees. Reggie was very unhappy with Ed’s questions and directed some R-rated language at Ed. Ed left with a signed baseball.
Interviewing was one of Ed’s true journalistic skills. His geniality, trustworthy demeanor and arsenal of data and statistics put individuals, whether they were sports figures or politicians, in that enviable position for reporters of wanting to talk to him.
The 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid energized Ed, especially seeing TV personality, Jim McKay, there. Standing in boot-high snow on Whiteface Mountain watching the women’s slalom racing or finding beauty in each figure skater, was thrilling.
Also thrilling to Ed was World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). From Hulk Hogan to a chance run-in on an airplane with fellow Irishman Sheamus the Celtic Warrior, Ed was in the moment. Add in some music from Elvis or maybe a little Frank Sinatra, and Ed would be content.
During the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, sports broadcasting and ESPN were on the cusp of something phenomenal and Ed envisioned the global potential. Ed could have become a big television market-ESPN broadcaster, but when his daughter, Jackie, was born in 1983, he chose to be close to her in the Albany area and share in her parenting.
With Jackie, Ed found the most happiness and was a loving, kind, caring, protective and vulnerable father. John McLaughlin, reporter at WTEN TV, said the Capital Region discovered Ed’s humanness when the station aired a Father’s Day promo showing Ed playing with Jackie in Washington Park pushing her on a swing. Ed’s favorite song for Jackie at the time was Stevie Wonder’s sweetest tune, “Isn’t She Lovely.”
To Ed’s dismay, Jackie’s first word was not “Yankees,” but he was soon teaching her how to throw a softball, hit a ball and keep a scorebook. A shared passion for the game between father and daughter helped develop Jackie’s commitment and athleticism in softball. Ed was fully involved in Bethlehem Tomboys Softball as a manager, coach and cheerleader always wearing his signature Hawaiian shirts. His support and unwavering devotion helped Jackie became a Division 1 softball player at The University at Buffalo.
Besides the Yankees and softball, Ed loved the ponies – especially racing at Saratoga Race Track. His television family felt his enthusiasm as they listened every morning to his horse knowledge from recounting former races to trying to handicap upcoming Triple Crown stakes. Ed loved travelling to the Saratoga Harness Track with his brother Dick, talking with patrons and betting exactas.
Ed’s love of horses also translated into his love for all animals. On a trip to Ireland, any time he saw a cow he had to stop and take a photo. But his childhood dog, Mickey, and his grand-dog, Brenna, were undoubtedly some of Ed’s favorite beings. Ed and Brenna could regularly be seen in the summer traversing the Normanskill Creek and sharing ice cream at Tastee Freez, navigating the Mansion Neighborhood eating hot dogs from plaza vendors or taking in a Nationals game in Washington D.C.
Besides boasting about how smart Brenna was, Ed was a Will Shortz fan and consistently would finish the Saturday New York Times crossword puzzle – a gift shared from his father.
Many of Ed’s early-morning television viewers heard some of his stories as Ed was masterful at storytelling during his A.M. newscasts on WRGB TV, Channel 6. Ed started working at WRGB TV in 1991 as a morning newscaster and producer. Ed co-anchored the morning news with many exceptionally talented and supportive colleagues and friends through his 24-year career at Channel 6. His faithful viewers loved Ed’s banter, presentation, intelligence and genuine smile as they drank their first cup of coffee of the day with him.
Throughout Ed’s long, insufferable battle against cancer, there were numerous individuals who loved and cared for him. The devotion of his daughter, Jackie, has been extraordinary shining in its pureness of giving, caring and strength. Ed’s friend for over 15 years, Kelly, has been at his side every day with encouragement, constant support, comfort and love. Ed’s siblings have surrounded him with a loving familial bond that can only be formed early in a big Irish family.
In addition to Ed’s parents who predeceased him, Ed is survived by his daughter, Jaclyn Bailey O’Brien (Colby Graves) of Alexandria, VA, best friend Kelly Wagner, brothers Richard (Barbara Fidanza) and Timothy, sisters Mary O’Brien Connair (Robin Troeger); Margaret O’Brien; Maureen O’Brien McMullen (Timothy); nieces and nephews, Richard O’Brien, Erin O’Brien, Susan O’Brien Deeley (Paul), Cynthia O’Brien Kaiser (Joseph) and Brendan O’Brien (Kelly Young); great-nephews, Jack Kaiser and P.J. and Matthew Deeley.
Thank you to all of the medical professionals who had a hand in Ed’s treatment. Heartfelt gratitude to the nurses, technicians, social workers, doctors, staff and volunteers of Community Hospice and at the St. Peter’s Hospice Inn where tenderness and sincerity surrounded Ed’s final journey and who communicated to Ed what Ed’s family already knew– that he’d been heroic and courageous, acting with dignity every day. .
A memorial service will be held at the Hans Funeral Home, 1088 Western Ave, Albany, on Friday, October 16, 2015 at 12:00pm. Relatives and friends are invited, and may call at the funeral home prior to the service from 10:00am to 12:00pm. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in memory of Ed may be made to Old Friends at Cabin Creek, 483 Sand Hill Road, Greenfield Center, NY 12833, www.oldfriendsatcabincreek.com. To leave a message of condolence for the family or obtain directions to the funeral home, please visit www.HansFuneralHome.com.
Click here to view Ed’s resting place in Calvary Cemetery, 481 US-9W, Bethlehem, NY (Zip Code Glenmont, NY 12077).
Offer Condolence for the family of Edward “Ed,” “Eddie,” Francis O’BrienPrint Obituary & Condolences
David J. Ciarlante
I watched Ed when I was a teen, and I was hooked. The way he told the news, straight forward, but with humor, it just made you watch. To be a teenager at the time and to say I loved WRGB news, was because of Mr. Ed O’Brien. I continue to watch WRGB, and was about to call the station this morning(10/13/15) to see how Ed was doing. I was crying when I heard the news, he was a huge huge part of my daily life. The team at WRGB, are a great team, but they were so blessed to have Ed on the morning show for 24 years. Jaclyn, my prayers go out to you and your entire family, as well as all those who worked with this great man. Know that God will get you through this very difficult time! Shalom
Richard S. Zazycki
Grew up with Ed in the Delaware Avenue area of Albany. Ed got his start in broadcasting while a student at both St. James and Cardinal McCloskey, where he did announcing at the ball games and also the morning announcements in school. He helped out on the McCloskey stage crew and also worked one of his early commercial radio jobs at WABY. We all knew back then that Ed would be an awesome broadcaster. And that he was, it was pure joy to watch and listen to him. Please know that in the days and weeks to come, I will keep Ed and his family in my thoughts and prayers…
Gary & Laurie Parafinczuk (Jackie's uncle & aunt)
We know how much Ed loved and adored his daughter Jackie.
This thoughtful, heartfelt obituary is a lovely tribute to a life well lived.
We are sending warm blessings for comfort and peace to all.
Gary & Laurie
We watched Ed on the news every since we moved upstate, he always started our day. He will be greatly missed. Rest in peace Ed.
I was so sorry to hear about the passing of your Dad. Remember it is only his body that has left you; his strong spirit will remain with you forever. I remember him well as the Dad who truly cared, supported, and loved his little girl. My deepest sympathy,
4th grade Glenmont, NY
Dr. John Reffue
In the early 1980’s when I was a teenager working at WENT radio in Gloversville, I spent a day in the press box at Saratoga where Ed and Harry Downie generously gave of their time and advice and helped me learn so much in a very short time about interviewing and horse racing and what it meant to be a good journalist. I noticed Ed right away that day and he greeted me with that booming voice and wide smile and a welcoming handshake that I never forgot. For the past 25 years, I have taught speech and mass media to thousands of college students and I owe so much to Ed and his Albany broadcasting colleagues for the impact their lives and their work left on me. I will miss him and I am so grateful for the legacy he has left his community and the world. My condolences go out to his family and colleagues.
Lee Hatfield Jr
My Sincere Condolences to all who knew Ed.
I used to enjoy being able to watch Ed at WRGB Ch 6 in the Am while I was getting ready to go to work, and really enjoyed Ed being in the Morning slot. It was possible years ago to even listen to him on the FM Radio dial at 87.7. Those were the days.
We shall all miss Ed’s Humor and knowledge.
RIP Ed O’Brien
James T. Hefti
I had the honor of being one of the Directors who worked with Ed on the morning news on WRGB for the past 5 years. We originally bonded over a mutual love for The Blues Brothers, Animal House and Caddyshack, about which we had many conversations and the occasional on-air reference with Neal Estano, who was also a fan. Ed rekindled in me an interest in the WWE and I accompanied him to a number of events when they performed locally. Ed was the authority in the morning, nothing went out over the air that he didn’t touch in some way, and the entire station benefited from his expertise. I’ve felt his absence keenly since he has been on medical leave, and his loss has created a hole that, in my opinion, can never truly be filled here at the station. I offer my condolences to Ed’s family in this time of grief, and I consider myself lucky to have called him a friend. Rest in Peace Ed, the mornings and CBS 6 will never be the same without you.
Jackie my sincere and deepest sympathy to you and the entire O’Brien family at your Dad’s passing. I have known your Dad for many years and the thing that impressed me the most about him was not his public persona but his total devotion to you and how proud he was to be your Dad. Over the years we kept in touch infrequently but he always was quick with his famous wit and a good comeback. He was truly a fine man. A life well lived, he made an impression on so many, many people. He will be truly missed.
Jackie and other O’Brien relatives: I am heartsick learning of Eddie’s passing. Having worked closely with him for many years at Channel 10, I so many wonderful memories! What a guy! I wish him Godspeed and I wish you all peace and comfort…
How very sad. My heart goes out to all his family, friends and co-workers at WRGB. The morning news will never be the same. Rest in peace Ed.
Stephen D. Caruso
I am a friend of Ed’s sister Maureen.
I am so sorry to hear of Ed’s passing.
He was a great news anchor and he will be missed very much.
Stephen D. Caruso
Maura Farrell Miller
I remember when Ed was a radio broadcaster while we were at McCloskey. He certainly had the voice and the passion! My sincere condolences to Ed’s family and friends. I will keep you all in my prayers. Maura Farrell Miller Cardinal McCloskey Memorial High School Class of 1973
to eds daughter and coworkers I’m so sorry for your loss your dad made me laugh many a morning before going to work.may god comfort you and bless u in these tough times.rest in peace ed
Ed was loved by so many of us. A friend and a gentleman. One day there will be a horse named Ed O’Brien. I will miss him.
I have been watching Ed since I moved to the area over 20 yrs ago…it was nice to see the same person on the news ..he was a great news anchor … I never knew he was sick .. My thoughts and prayers are with his family ..
Mary Ravida-Eccles Johnson
My prayers & sincere sympathy to Ed’s family. I have had him in my prayers during his battle. May God grant him peace.
I will always remember the fun of our youth working together at WABY in the 70’s. He was a joy and I followed his career in later years. He will always be remembered as a true professional, admired and loved broadcaster.
Seeing Ed every morning on the TV was like a neighbor coming over for a cup of coffee every morning. I’m going to miss him.
Ed was a most welcomed face and voice in our home every morning! A wonderful legacy, a wonderful man. Peace and warmth go out to all of his loved ones from a forever fan.
I will miss waking up to Ed as I have these past months.
My thoughts are with all his family.
To the Family and Friends of Ed your in my Thoughts and Prayers . The Morning Show will not be the Same. Rest in Peace Ed you will be missed.
Ted and Dixie Aniolek
With deepest sympathy to Jackie and the entire O’Brien families, the WRGB co workers, plus his extended TV, and radio broadcasting families and friends.
Loved seeing Ed every morning on TV, and looked forward to watching him broadcast from the Saratoga Race track during the track season.
Rest in Peace, Ed.
Ted and Dixie
Please accept my condolences on the passing of your brother. I know how much he meant to you.
My condolences to the family. Ed was an inspiration to many and
A role model for all. He set a great example of a true full blooded american. Rest In Peace Ed
God Bless. AND safe journey
A thankful fan
Laurie Quattrini Nolan
I am so sorry to hear about your Dad. He kept the scorebook for our basketball team for years…he would go home from work after doing the morning news, take a nap, and be at our game with a smile on his face…loved his laugh and wit! You made him so proud. May he rest in peace.
So sorry for your loss. Ed was a bright light in many lives. We’ll all see him again. Not yet 😉 GOD BLESS
Bonny Rowe Curry
With deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Ed. I went to Cardinal McCloskey High School with Ed. He always announced the daily am news items and events over the loud speaker. We knew with his voice, he would be a fine news man! I enjoyed watching him on TV on the news desk in the morning.
What a wonderful career and a wonderful gentlemen. Rest in God’s arms, Ed.
I am so very sad that you will not start my day – but what a pleasure
to have had you and your daughter and furry friends as part of my life.
miss you Ed “my news man” (life line)
Love: Debbie “K” another Albany kid and doggy/horse lover
TV Ed you are so loved and missed
Jackie so sorry for the lose of your dad and the grandpa of furry Brenna – who he adored and spoke of always
and long ago Mickey ( i am a dog luver),
I will always remember his smile (-: and think of you often
Maureen and family: My deepest sympathy on the loss of Ed. I miss him very much as he was part of my morning for many years. Ed O’Brien was as necessary as my morning coffee to get things off to a good start. His passing has left a feeling of sadness and loss for me so I can only imagine what you all are going through. Take consolation in how much he meant to so many people.
PS I knew he loved the races but I did not know how much he actually loved horses. So kind to think of “Old Friends . . . ” at this time.
Sending heartfelt condolences to the entire O’Brien family, and especially Jackie. As you all know, he was an incredible man, full of strength, knowledge and love. His obituary was a beautiful tribute to a wonderful human being. For many years, Ed was the reason I watched morning news television. Four years ago, I moved to Tampa, Florida, but continued to follow Ed through the internet. May you all find comfort knowing he is in a better place, without pain or suffering, and enjoying the ponies & watching the Yanks! RIP Ed and thanks for the memories! <3
I enjoyed watching Ed on the news and talking with him at the track.
I would like to share my poem with his family and offer my deepest sympathy.
It is true I am not here in the physical sense anymore, but you have traces of me left in many familiar places:
You’ll hear expressions that remind you of our conversations; You’ll see beautiful things that remind you of our adventures together;
Something will make you cry, and you’ll remember a time when we shared tears and comforted each other and felt better. You’ll laugh at something, and it will remind you of a time when we laughed together at a movie, or a card, or just a funny situation.
So, my friend, there will be times when it hurts to remember.
It’s o.k. to cry, and you may not feel strong sometimes, but I know you have an inner strength. Rely on it and try to move ahead.
Know that you hold a special place in my heart, and that your presence added to my life.
Use these memories to help you when things get you down and you need an extra smile.
When you do or see the things we enjoyed together, know that I am still there in your heart and in your memory.
Remember the happiness we shared.
Until that day when we meet again, live your life to the fullest as I did, and share yourself with others.
So, my treasured friend, until we meet again … remember me.
Mary E. Riegert
Bernard A. Rock
I did not know Ed nor had I ever met him, but I felt as though I knew him as he was a regular in my household every morning. He just spoke and acted like he was talking to me, like we had know each other for a long time. Like one of the boys. I enjoyed him for years on Channel 6. He will be greatly missed. God Bless him, his family, and his loved ones.
Alexander and Stephanie
We send our deepest sympathies to the daughter, family, friends and colleagues of Ed O’Brien. There are no words that can be said at this time. However, we do send our love and thoughts your way. We did not know Ed personally. However, when we could catch a morning update or a newscast, we always looked forward to seeing Ed. He just had an outgoing personality. May the Good Lord keep all of you and be with you each and everyday.
Suzette Tanis-Plant and family
To all of Ed’s family and loved ones, and especially to his sister Margy,
No loss is really timely but an untimely loss is an all the greater one. What is amazing is all that Ed accomplished in the time he had.
We are deeply sorry and are thinking of you,
The Tanis and Tanis-Plant family
I worked and played along side Ed at Waby and Wtry and it was great. He was more than a co worker but apart of our family and it was always a great time together. We are all lucky to have had time with Ed. Some of my memories are of are of the WABY softball outings, when Ed made the move to TV. And the stories of his daughter and at a very young age finding out what the reject button does on a vcr. She would say button and proceeded to show her father how it operates over and over. He would tell the stories with great affection for her. Thanks Ed you left us with great memories
We lost a great man and a great coffee mate in the morning. Let me just say this; it didn’t feel like you were watching the news with Ed, it felt more like you were sitting in a cafe somewhere talking about the news. Real personable guy. He will be missed by many especially me. RIP Obi… May god be with you.
Pat Woodruff Cohan
Hard to find words to express what a great man Ed was. My heartfelt sympathies go out to all his family and many friends. I remember his superlative work on radio and TV, and as a guest host for the OFCC fundraiser Kentucky Derby Parties at The Racing Museum in Saratoga Springs two years running. We loved seeing Ed at Old Friends at Cabin Creek. He was a wonderful friend and contributor to all the horses there, all the volunteers, JoAnn Pepper and especially Will’s Way. We are forever grateful for his friendship, caring and support of Old Friends at Cabin Creek.
With love~ Pat and all the volunteers at OFCC
Ed brings a smile to my face.
I met Ed years ago in the wpyx sky box at the nick. He felt like an old friend even though we’d never met. A fun guy and a true character, a gentleman to boot. God Bless Ed and His Family;
Smile when you think of him!