1999-09-04 / Columnists

Breezy Point Par-Tee News

by Carolyn Bennett

With last Thursday’s game a complete rain out this column can now take up the pleasant assignment of spotlighting one of Par Tee’s co-leaders for this ’99 season - Barbara O’Brien. She and Joan McNally borough us through this season very smoothly despite the fact that she had been a member for only one year. When the committee asked for volunteers to lead the group the following year, she offered to fill that post. "I think everyone should take her turn heading the golfers," Barbara remarked," and I saw this as a chance to do my part." And when she does her part it is with an energy and enthusiasm that is totally engaging.

Barbara grew up in the Sunset Park section of Brooklyn and went to St. Michael’s Elementary school. She had always loved sports, first trying handball, than at the age of 12, she discovered tennis. After a slow start it gradually became her passion and remains her number one sport even to this day. After graduating from Bay Ridge High school she worked in the stock exchange.

During these years Barbara enjoyed another of her life long interests, listening and dancing to the big band music at parties and confraternity dances. One evening at a restaurant party a young man named Larry O’Brien asked her to dance, and that was it. they became partners for life.

After their marriage in 1959 they lived in Flatbush where their first child, Kelly was born. Their introduction to Rockaway Point came when they visited Larry’s brother who lived there. And on a bone chilling day in March they bought a bungalow Doris Lane, which they grew to love more as spring and summer arrived. Because of Larry’s expertise their house went through changes and additions. Their family also had additions, the arrival of three more children, Dorothy, Larry and Bobbie.

Barbara returned to work part time, continued to play tennis year round and took care of her growing family with remarkable energy and an upbeat spirit. She also found time to follow another interest, oil painting. Landscapes, seascapes, oriental subjects and a painting of a couple playing tennis (guess who?) show her varied artistic talent. Another athletic talent brought her into the women’s softball league here in Breezy Point. She played catcher for the team sponsored by Gateway Inn (Larry’s bar in Flatbush). They were champs for two seasons.

When does golf come into the picture? Only within the last seven or eight years. Barbara’s husband persuaded her to try golf just as she got him started with tennis. Because her sport is played at a faster, more energetic pace, she had a hard time adjusting. But by the time her name rose to the top of the Par Tee waiting list, she was ready for the challenge. She made her mark right away, always among the low scorers. And after one year of playing, a top executive of the organization with Joan McNally.

There is one sport, however, that she refuses to embrace even though her husband and two daughters, Kelly and Dorothy, have given it a try. And that is jumping out of an airplane and parachuting back to earth. She watched them follow their thrill seeking sport once and hopes they’ll never try again.

When asked if there is anything she would still like to accomplish, Barbara answered, "I would love to play the piano." She had taken a class several years ago at Beach Channel High school but gave it up. "I love music too much to hear myself play," she admitted. "I’d much rather listen to may daughter Dorothy play. She’s excellent."

Barbara, too, shows excellence in other ways.

 

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