Peter O’Brien, a mason contractor who dedicated much of his time to the Amagansett Fire Department for over half a century, died at home on O’Brien Court, a private road off Schellinger Road, on Sept. 5. He was 77 and had a massive heart attack.
Mr. O’Brien was the third generation of the O’Brien family of masons. He worked on many of the East End’s high-profile houses and buildings, his family said, and was consulted by architects and engineers for his ingenuity, creativity, and practicality.
Mr. O’Brien joined the Amagansett Fire Department in 1955, becoming secretary of company three and then secretary of the department the next year. He moved up to assistant captain in 1957, second assistant chief in 1960, captain in 1961, assistant chief in 1970, and chief in 1974.
Mr. O’Brien’s service to the department did not end there. He became president of the Firemen’s Benevolent Association and founded the Amagansett ambulance squad in 1974, and was an emergency medical technician until 1978, when he became an advanced E.M.T. He continued in that post through 1987. He was a fire commissioner from 1976 until 1991 and chairman of the committee working toward the Amagansett Fire Department’s 100th anniversary parade in 2014.
Born in Amagansett on March 3, 1935, to Philip and Catherine Spellman O’Brien, he grew up there and attended the Amagansett School and East Hampton High School. He joined the Navy Seabees after graduation in 1953. He and the former Constance DiSunno, who died in 2007, were married on April 15, 1961. The couple traveled widely.
His daughter, Jeannine Sherman of Alpharetta, Ga., said, “He loved to fly fish and was well known for making his own flies. He had a 1963 Stingray Corvette and enjoyed cruising, she said. “He’d say, ‘What are you doing?’ I’d say, ‘Nothing.’ He’d say, ‘Let’s go!’ ”
Ms. Sherman added that her father had an infectious smile, and had been a mentor to many members of the Fire Department.
When he lost his wife, he made one change in his life. He bought a motorcycle, she said. “He always wanted a motorcycle, but mom would say no,” Ms. Sherman said. He recently joined the Red Knights, and rode in a 30-mile event here in support of the Wounded Warriors Project.
Besides Ms. Sherman, he is survived by a son, Michael O’Brien of Amagansett, a brother, Robert O’Brien of Pennsylvania, and three grandchildren.
A graveside service was held on Saturday at Most Holy Trinity Catholic Cemetery in East Hampton.
Donations in his memory were suggested for the ambulance fund of the Amagansett Fire Department, Main Street, Amagansett 11930.