A Letter from Edward O’Brien

To my beloved South Boston,

After three years of careful consideration, contemplation and discussion, I have sold our family funeral home to John Reen of Brighton. John owns and operates his family’s funeral home in Brighton and has worked for me here in South Boston for more than 20 years. This was not an easy decision. Stepping away from the full time operations of the funeral home has been the most difficult decision I have had to make both personally and professionally; however, as I continue to struggle with ongoing issues with my sight, it became evident it was something I had to do.

My father and I are sons of South Boston and we’ve always been so proud to work and live in this community that is like no other. I’ve proudly represented South Boston on the ice as a kid and then being able to support youth sports as a business owner has given me great joy. 

I have been honored to have been given the opportunity to help so many of you over the years. I am most proud of my family and how they have served the families of South Boston for the last 112 years. I will be forever grateful to the families of South Boston who trusted us to help them through the most difficult times in their lives. For these reasons, I thank each of you.

John and I had planned to make a more formal announcement after we had an opportunity to talk to each of you who have participated in our Pre Arrangement Trust Fund. You have my word that you will receive the same level of service from John that you are used to from my family. It is the same funeral home, the same community, and the same level of service to which you have become accustomed.

I know both of my grandfathers and my beloved father –if he had all his faculties– would understand. My father told me years ago that if my heart was not in it, then it was not fair to the families who were depending on us. 

Since 2017, I’ve battled eye issues that have required medical attention. Coupled with the loss of a loved one, I felt that I could no longer provide the exceptional service and attention to detail that is the hallmark of this profession and what the O’Brien Funeral Home is known for.

John Reen is a friend and has worked for my family for years. John has deep roots in his own community. He and his wife are raising four sons who someday may be in the business. His cousins and uncles already work for me and I guarantee that John and his family members are familiar faces to all of you. 

It was very important to me that 146 Dorchester Street remained a family owned and operated funeral home. As I take this step back, I remain a part of the operations of the funeral home but just not in a full time capacity.

I am not on social media but I do know there have been some posts and comments about the recent sale. There’s a nice picture of my father and lots of comments about the good work he did for our community. There will never be another Jack O’Brien but John Reen has my complete confidence and I hope you will show him the same respect and support you’ve always shown me. 

I am confident that the reputation and good work that started with John F. O’Brien and continued for 112 years with Edward F. O’Brien, John F. O’Brien, and Edward J. O’Brien will continue with this next chapter of the O’Brien Funeral Home of South Boston under the direction of John F. Reen. I love South Boston and am humbled and we have been honored to serve you all of these years

—Edward O’Brien