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Leo W. O'Brien

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Leo W. O'Brien
Leo W. O'Brien.jpg
From 1965's Pocket Congressional Directory of the Eighty-Ninth Congress
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York's 29th district
In office
January 3, 1963 – December 30, 1966
Preceded byJ. Ernest Wharton
Succeeded byDaniel E. Button
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York's 30th district
In office
January 3, 1953 – January 3, 1963
Preceded byJ. Ernest Wharton
Succeeded byCarleton J. King
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York's 32nd district
In office
April 1, 1952 – January 3, 1953
Preceded byWilliam T. Byrne
Succeeded byBernard W. Kearney
Personal details
Born(1900-09-21)September 21, 1900
Buffalo, New York
DiedMay 4, 1982(1982-05-04) (aged 81)
Albany, New York
Resting placeSt. Agnes Cemetery, Menands, New York
Spouse(s)Mabel C. Jean (m. 1925-1982, his death)
Alma materNiagara University
ProfessionNewspaper reporter
Radio and television commentator

Leo William O'Brien (September 21, 1900 – May 4, 1982) was an American journalist, radio and television commentator, and politician. A Democrat, he was most notable for his service as a member of the United States House of Representatives from New York for 14 years (1952-1966).[1]

Early life

Nicknamed "Obie," O'Brien was born in Buffalo, New York.[2] He graduated from Niagara University in 1922.[2] O'Brien worked as a newspaper journalist for the International News Service, and Albany Knickerbocker Press and Times-Union.[2] He later became a radio and television commentator.[2] From 1935 to 1952 he was a member of the Port of Albany District Commission.[1]


In 1952 he was the successful Democratic nominee for the United States House of Representatives seat left vacant by the death of William T. Byrne.[2] He was reelected seven times and served from April 1, 1952 until resigning on December 30, 1966, a few days before the end of his final term.[2] He was not a candidate for reelection in 1966.[2]

As a member of the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, O'Brien was a leading advocate for Alaska and Hawaii statehood.[1] He also helped create the Fire Island National Seashore, and strongly advocated cleanup of the Hudson River and protecting it as a scenic waterway.[1]

Later life

After leaving Congress O'Brien served as Chairman of the Albany County Planning Board and the Adirondack Study Commission.[2]

He died at St. Peter's Hospital in Albany, New York on May 4, 1982.[1] He was buried at St. Agnes Cemetery in Menands.[2]


O'Brien married Mabel C. Jean in 1925.[3] They were the parents of a son, Robert.[3]


Federal building

The United States federal building in Albany, New York is named after for O'Brien.[4] It is located at the corner of Clinton Avenue and North Pearl Street, and contains facilities including a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS).[5]

Honorary degrees

In 1959, O'Brien received the honorary degree of LL.D. from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in recognition of his efforts to promote Alaska statehood.[6] In 1960, O'Brien received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Niagara University.[7]

In 1961, he received an honorary LL.D. from Siena College.[8] In May 1966, O'Brien received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the Albany College of Pharmacy.[7]


As additional recognition of his Alaska statehood efforts, in 1964 the state government named Mount Terrance, a mountain near Haines, Alaska after O'Brien's 10-year-old grandson.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d e Walter H. Waggoner (May 5, 1982). "Leo W. O'Brien, 81, is Dead; Former Albany Congressman". New York Times. Retrieved 2014-07-30.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i U.S. Congress (2005). Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-2005. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office. p. 1669. ISBN 978-0-16-073176-1 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ a b U.S. House of Representatives (1960). Congressional Record: Proceedings and Debates of the 86th Congress, Second Session. 106, Part 5. Washington, DC: US Government printing Office. p. 6031 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ "Honor for O'Brien Proposed". The Post-Star. Glens Falls, NY. July 29, 1972. p. 5 – via
  5. ^ "Albany Military Entrance Processing Station". MEPS Information. United States Military Entrance Processing Command. Retrieved November 2, 2015.
  6. ^ "Record Number Receive Degrees: O'Brien's Talk Lauds Greatest". Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. Fairbanks, AL. May 18, 1959. p. 1 – via
  7. ^ a b "Rep. Leo W. O"Brien To Speak To June Graduates". Alumni News. Albany, NY: Albany College of Pharmacy. May 1, 1996. pp. 1, 4.
  8. ^ "Honorary Degree Recipients". Loudonville, NY: Siena College. Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  9. ^ "Alaska Mountain Named". New York Times. New York, NY. July 15, 1964.

Further reading

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
William T. Byrne
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 32nd congressional district

Succeeded by
Bernard W. Kearney
Preceded by
J. Ernest Wharton
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 30th congressional district

Succeeded by
Carleton J. King
Preceded by
J. Ernest Wharton
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 29th congressional district

Succeeded by
Daniel E. Button
This page was last edited on 29 December 2020, at 07:50
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