NEMA Stalwart Jimmy O達rien Passes

The Northeastern Midget Association lost one of its most dedicated competitors and contributors Monday with the passing of Jimmy O達rien. As a car owner and officer, O達rien helped to write over four decades of NEMA history.

O達rien, a NEMA member since 1970, said his greatest moment came in 1990 when son Matt jumped into his #16. That relationship carried into this season.

Introduced to the Midgets by his father, O達rien got involved back in the early 1950s. After two years working with others in NEMA, he joined the owner ranks with the Ray Kelly #33. He always referred to Kelly, a NEMA legend, 殿s my mentor. Chuck Daniel and Len Thrall also played key roles in O達rien痴 early career.

A member of the NEMA Hall of Fame, he built his own cars and motors for almost his entire involvement with the club.

His drivers included Johnny Evans, Hank Stevens, Doug Cleveland, Steve Eldridge, Paul Stoehr and Roy Daniel. Cleveland and Evans won in O達rien equipment; Stevens won the 1975 dirt track title.

He was a walking NEMA encyclopedia, always willing to share a wealth of club history. He was part of several 兎ras. Always a defender of the low-buck competitor, O達rien, elected to the Contest Board in 1973, was a guiding force for many years. A one-time vice president, he stepped down in 2003 after 13 years as the club treasurer.

笛immy痴 dedication to NEMA was incredible, an inspiration really, says club president Mike Scrivani Jr. 滴e loved the Midgets and NEMA in particular. He was an officer under several presidents.

In all the years I knew Jim, seldom did he raise his voice. And over the past 10 years watching Jimmy and Matt was just a great thing.

Funeral services will be on Saturday (April 9, 2011) at 9 AM from Funk Funeral Home, 35 Bellevue Ave., Bristol, to St. Gregory Church, 235 Maltby St., Bristol, for a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 AM. Burial will follow in St. Joseph Cemetery, Bristol, CT.

Relatives and friends may call at the funeral home on Friday between 5 and 8 PM.

Obituary for James V. O'Brien III

James V. O達rien, III, 69, of Cheshire and Valrico, FL, formerly of Bristol, died on Monday (April 4, 2011) at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. James was born in New Britain on November 30, 1941 and was a son of the late James V. O達rien Jr. and Edith (Tyler) O達rien. He worked at Pratt & Whitney Aircraft for 15 years, Turbine Components in Branford, and The Wood Group in Wallingford before retiring. After retirement, he continued to work as a private contractor in his field of aircraft engine repair. James had a longtime passion for midget car racing. He raced for over 40 years and was a longtime car owner. He was a longtime member of the Northeastern Midget Association (NEMA) where he served as treasurer for many years and was a recipient of many awards including induction into the NEMA Hall of Fame. For the past 20 years he remained active as a car owner and introduced his sons, Dennis and Matthew, to the sport. A dedicated father , James is survived by his four sons and two daughters-in-law, James O達rien of Boston, MA, Christopher T. O達rien of Brandon, FL, Dennis and Melissa O達rien of Deerfield, NH, and Matthew and Susan O達rien of Wilmington, MA; a brother, Daniel O達rien of Everett, WA; three sisters, Eileen Engels of Bristol, Jocelyn Nightingale of Litchfield, and Eloise O達rien of Amherst, NY; five grandchildren whom he adored and would think nothing of driving the distance to their activities, Dennis James, Mitchell Robert, Tabatha Leigh, Samuel Robert, and Benjamin Harold O達rien; and several nieces and nephews. Funeral services will be on Saturday (April 9, 2011) at 9 AM from Funk Funeral Home, 35 Bellevue Ave., Bristol, to St. Gregory Church, 235 Maltby St., Bristol for a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 AM. Burial will follow in St. Joseph Cemetery, Bristol. Relatives and friends may call at the funeral home on Friday between 5 and 8 PM. Memorial donations may be made to the Shane Hammond Believe Foundation, 164 Anna Dr., East Bridgewater, MA 02333 www.shanehammond.org   Please visit James痴 memorial web-site to view tributes and photos at www.FunkFuneralHome.com .