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Joanne Cecelia O'Brien
In Memory of
Joanne Cecelia O'Brien
1929 - 2017
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Obituary for Joanne Cecelia O'Brien

oanne "Joey" C. O'Brien passed peacefully in her sleep on Friday, October 27, 2017. She was born on March 9, 1929 in Ely, Nevada to David and Stella (Guisti) Miles. Her early years were spent living in California and Nevada. She attended high school in Oakland, CA, before moving back to Nevada and graduating from Carson High School in Carson City, NV. She then attended UNR where she met and married Leo M. "Pat" O'Brien in 1950.
Being the wife of an Army officer Joey raised her five children in three countries: Japan, Panama and Germany and nine other states before returning to Reno, Nevada in 1972. She resumed her studies at UNR earning her nursing degree and working in area hospitals and the Washoe County School District as a school nurse. She took a two-year leave of absence from the school district and moved to Hawaii where she worked as a nurse and fell in love with the people and paradise of the islands. She retired from the school district in 2004.
In her 88 years of life Joey exemplified the spirit of adventure - her hobbies included hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, kayaking, skiing, snowshoeing, traveling, photography and cooking. She was a member of the Sierra Club, several book clubs and the Reno Host Lions Club working with the Lions in Sight Foundation. She traveled the world, including to Vietnam, China, Thailand, Greece, South Africa, Namibia, England, Scotland and Ireland. She skied in Italy, Switzerland, Germany and New Zealand and scuba dived numerous times throughout the Caribbean and Pacific. She also went hiking in the Himalayas, kayaking with orcas in the waters off Canada, and she visited the ancient ruins of Chichen Itza in Mexico, Petra in Jordan, the Great Pyramids of Egypt and Machu Picchu in Peru. In addition, she volunteered for the Flying Doctors of America working as a dental assistant in Baja, Mexico.
Joey's greatest joy in life was her family. In September of this year she attended the wedding of one of her granddaughters and was so proud and happy to celebrate the wedding surrounded by all of her children, her grandchildren and three of her great-grandchildren.
Joey is survived by her five children: Trey O'Brien, Kathy Whitney (Ron), Patrick O'Brien (Suzy), Ellen Reaney (Gary) and Mark O'Brien (Linda); nine grandchildren: David O'Brien, Robin Reaney-Smith (Bryan), Melissa Reaney-White (Darren), Nicholas Whitney, Laura Reaney-Weiss (Timber), Heather Whitney, Erin Reaney, Michon O'Brien and Callie O'Brien; and four great-grandchildren: Kayla O'Brien, Elliotte White, Wesley Smith and Lucas White.
Joey was a beautiful, devoted friend who always saw the positive in everyone she met. She was a wonderful listener, a great story teller and her zest for life was contagious. She was well loved and she loved well.
A celebration of her life will be held on Friday, January 5, 2018 at The Wilbur D. May Center located inside Rancho San Rafael Regional Park from 2:00-4:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, a donation to the Lions Club, the Sierra Club, the Flying Doctors of America, KNPB or a charity of your choice in Joey's name would be appreciated.
Aloha 'oe - Farewell to Thee – Until we meet again.
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