Former police chief dies

Published 11:41 am Wednesday, August 18, 2010

FRANKLIN—William “Bill” O’Brien, who served as Franklin’s chief of police for eight years, died Friday. He was 89.


“He and his family were certainly pillars of the community for many, many years,” said Mayor Jim Councill. “He was just a wonderful gentleman.”

O’Brien led the city’s police force from December 1972 until May 1981. Before he was named chief, O’Brien served with the Virginia State Police for 27 years.

Connie Griffin, O’Brien’s daughter, said her father kept God and country at the head of his life.

“He had high standards and expectations,” Griffin said. “He was the best father that you could have.”

She said her father was always “precise” and did yard work and played golf until his health wouldn’t allow him to do so anymore.

A World War II veteran, O’Brien participated in the D-Day invasion of Normandy in 1944 and received a number of military honors during his career.

O’Brien was a native of Berryville in Clarke County, where he climbed trees to pick apples in his youth.

City Councilman Don Blythe described O’Brien as “a good man all across the board.”

“He did an excellent job,” Blythe said. “I have nothing but high remarks on Bill O’Brien.”

Councill said O’Brien was a role model and “a great community person.”

“Chief O’Brien was just one of the best,” Councill said.

Funeral services for O’Brien were held on Monday.