Timothy “Tim” O’Brien


Timothy “Tim” Joseph O’Brien 71, proud father, grandparent, husband, lifelong cattleman, skilled welder, chef, and an overall friendly guy passed away April 24, 2023 at his home in Belfield, ND. Tim’s Mass of Christian Burial was held on Monday, May 1, 2023 at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church, Belfield with Fr. Shane Campbell as celebrant. Inurnment took place at St. Bernard’s Cemetery, Belfield.

Tim was born in Dickinson, ND on July 30, 1951. He was the 6th of 12 children born to Donald and Rose O’Brien. He was raised on the family ranch north of Belfield near Grassy Butte. Tim attended grade school near the O’Brien Ranch at the Tester Country School. He went to high school in Killdeer, ND while living and working on his Aunt Pauline and Uncle Leonard Kostelnak’s Registered Hereford Ranch.

Tim left school his sophomore year to help his family tend the ranch while his father recovered from surgery. He continued to work for several farmers and ranchers until he started O’Brien Builders with his brothers Bill and Dennis.

On December 21, 1973, Tim married Karen Kessel at St. Bernard’s Church in Belfield. Together they raised three beautiful children Chris, Ryan, and Melinda. Through the years, they became the unofficial parents and grandparents to many children, loving them as their own.

Tim joined his brother John in 1974 to work for Koch Oil in the maintenance department. In 1975, Tim was given the opportunity to buy a herd of Registered Herefords in Bucyrus, ND. He quickly packed up his family to pursue his lifelong dream of owning cattle and operating a ranch. In 1979 during the oil boom while ranching and working at Emmett Machine and Welding in Hettinger, ND friends and family convinced Tim to start his own business. O’Brien Welding opened its doors to the world that August. Tim’s skills and expertise became well known throughout the tri-state area. He became known as the guy who could fix just about anything. If he couldn’t fix it, he would redesign or invent something new. There was nothing too great or small that he was afraid to take on; from welding in the oilfield, building steel buildings or fixing equipment. He could “get ‘er done”.

Tim was a mentor to many. His heart and home were always open. Tim could strike up a conversation and become an instant friend. He never met a stranger. Tim was always willing to lend a hand to someone in need. His family and friends meant the world to him. He enjoyed teaching his children and grandchildren life skills as well as how to work and play hard to keep the O’Brien Irish shenanigans alive.

Tim is survived by his wife Karen and his three children: son Ryan O’Brien, Belfield, daughters Chris O’Brien, Hong Kong and Melinda (Kevin) Clark, Santa Rosa, CA; grandsons: Adrian O’Brien, Zacharia Hmaidat, Caden O’Brien, Jake O’Brien, Luke O’Brien, Oliver Clark, Arlo Clark; brothers: Dennis (Arlinda) O’Brien, John O’Brien, Darby (Nita) O’Brien, Donovan O’Brien, Jeff (Crystal) O’Brien, Aaron (Dream) O’Brien; sisters: Denise (Bob) Person, Barb (Ronnie) Boltz, Mony (Rod) Wolf, Mary Rabenberg; in laws: Niki (Ron) Michaels, Doug Kessel, Bruce Kessel, Colleen Lenz, Connie (Syd) Forster, Sheldon (Laura) Kessel and numerous nieces and nephews.

Tim is preceded in death by his parents Don and Rose O’Brien; parents-in-law Nick and Goldie Kessel; sister Sharon Hawkinson, brother Bill O’Brien; brother-in-laws Roger Boltz, Aaron Hawkinson, Jim Rabenburg: sister-in law: Lana O’Brien; great niece Isabel O’Brien as well as other extended family, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Arrangements are with Ladbury Funeral Service, Dickinson,

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