AMARILLO, TEXAS (BNM) - Chester O'Brien, age 94, passed away on Sunday, Oct. 20, in Amarillo, Texas. Services took place Thursday, Oct. 24, at First Baptist Church, Amarillo.
O'Brien was born on Nov. 25, 1924, in Fort Worth, Texas. He graduated from high school in Big Spring, Texas, holds a Bachelor of Arts from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, and a divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Bonnie Ball and O'Brien married on June 25, 1946, in Sweetwater, Texas, where Bonnie’s father was pastor.
O'Brien would later pastor in Wolf Creek, Kentucky; Denton, Gruver and Wellington, Texas and Tucumcari, New Mexico. He was also the founding pastor of Paramount Baptist Church, Amarillo.
O'Brien served as the director of missions for the Amarillo Baptist Association before being elected to serve as the executive director of the Baptist Convention of New Mexico.
O'Brien's tenure as BCNM's executive director spanned from Jan. 11, 1975-Jan. 1, 1985. He was unanimously elected to the office during the state convention, which met at Glorieta Baptist Conference Center, Nov. 12-14, 1974. O’Brien was a former New Mexican, having served as pastor of First Baptist Church, Tucumcari. His leadership and vision, his caring and loving concern and his spirit of humility were an example and blessing that reached far beyond the borders of New Mexico.
After leaving the BCNM, O'Brien served as the associate pastor of evangelism and senior adults for First Baptist Church, Amarillo. O'Brien retired as a full-time staff member in 1992 when his wife retired from teaching school. He didn't stop then, though, as he served interim pastorates and taught ten years as the Bible chair at Amarillo College.
In 1996, Sivells Baptist Camp named the camp's newest facility the Chester and Bonnie O'Brien Motel, and the executive board of the BCNM named him executive director emeritus on April 14, 2003.
O'Brien was an author, a pastor, the Bible chair at Amarillo College, and a teacher. O'Brien enjoyed his ministry over a period of 79 years.
O'Brien was preceded in death by his wife, Bonnie. Two sons survive him: David of Austin, Texas and John, and his wife, Marilyn, of Amarillo, Texas; daughter, Marianna Chopin of Charleston, South Carolina; brother William R. O'Brien, and his wife, Charmaine; and three grandchildren.