JAMES HENRY O'BRIEN was born around 1894. He served as a Yeoman 3rd Class in the United States Navy during World War I, and became active in veterans and civic affairs in Camden NJ after returning from the war. He was a member and at one time Captain of the Captain Herbert G. Sparrow Ship of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. James O'Brien made his home at 1330 Jackson Street in Camden.

When the United States was attacked in December of 1941, James O'Brien became an air raid warden in Camden, and served as chief warden for the city for two years. When the William Stanley Ablett Village public housing project opened up in 1942, he was named manager, a post that he held until his death on March 24, 1944. He was succeeded in that post by James J. Scarduzio.

After services at the Holl Funeral Home at 1401 Princess Avenue in Camden, James H. O'Brien was buried at plot C-SOU-162 in Beverly National Cemetery in Beverly NJ on March 28, 1944.

Camden Courier-Post - February 28, 1936

Capt. H. G. Sparrow All-Navy Ship, No. 1269, Veterans of Foreign Wars, 304 State Street. James H. O'Brien, chairman of the entertainment committee, will preside at a leap year party at the Ship's quarters Satur­day night. Paul A. Kline, chairman of the U. S. S. Chicago World War Association, has begun preparations for the annual reunion and banquet of the group in Camden. The date, set for April 5, may be changed to April 4, so as to permit a longer visit to Camden. Joseph H. Williamson, past captain, is heading a membership drive. 

Camden Courier-Post * February 11, 1938

Fox Heads Affair; Drive for Members Stressed; Contribute to Red Cross

Plans are being formulated for the fourth annual military ball by the Veterans of Foreign Wars to be held Armistice night, November 11. County Commander Charles B. Frank, at the meeting of the Camden County Council of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, on February 4, named  Harold Paul, Fox chairman of the event.

Fox, who is chief of staff of the department of New Jersey, spoke on the membership drive being staged nationally by the V. F. W. and of the benefits that have been accomplished through legislation for the veteran and his department which could not have been otherwise brought about except through the representation of the membership of the various veteran organizations, Fox said.

Senior Vice Commander Conrad F. Holzermer, of the council, who is chairman of the membership drive in Camden county, appeals to all ex-service men in the city and county of Camden who served either in the Philippines, Puerto Rico, China, Mexico, Vera Cruz, France, Germany, Russia, Santo Domingo or Nicaragua to contact any post or member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars who will gladly explain the benefits he eventually derives in later years through his membership in this veteran  organization.

In answer to the appeal of the American Red Cross for the relief of the civilians in war-torn China, a check was mailed to the Camden County Chapter of the American Red Cross to be used for such relief. 

Seek Jersey as Ship Name

Capt. H. G. Sparrow All-Navy Ship No. 1269—At the meeting Tuesday night the ship went on record supporting the request made to Congress by Congressman J. Parnell Thomas that the next battleship authorized be named the New Jersey. Due to the historical background and the fact  that New Jersey is one of the 13 original colonies, it was deemed fitting that the state should receive this consideration. Letters have been forwarded, through proper channels, to that effect. 

Members were urged to listen in on the "Hello America" radio hour on February 28 at 11.30 p. m. Commander-in-Chief Scott P. Squyres will deliver the membership obligation over the air at approximately 12.10 and will have a message of interest for all V. F. W. members. Howard H.  Bean and M. Mungioli, of Post No. 518, and C. Sutton and E. Gaylord from Post No. 980, attended the meeting. Horace Kershner was also present, having been discharged from Philadelphia Naval Hospital recently, after spending 17 months there. Entertainment Chairman Tom Jackson announced that a Washington's birthday party will be held at the ships quarters, 304 State street on Saturday night February 26. He also is planning an old-fashioned 'Navy Night,' the date of which will be announced later.

Gross-Hollinshed Post No. 1270 Auxiliary—Mrs. Kathryn Corbett, assistant department staff officer, attended the meeting on February 3 for the purpose of inspection. The president attended the institution and installation of officers of the recently organized Townsend-Young Auxiliary in Gloucester, on February 2. She has made arrangements to visit the Soldiers' Home in Vineland on Sunday. At that time, she will take gifts of cigarettes, donated by members of the post and auxiliary, 
together with valentine packages made by the Junior Red Cross of the Pennsauken Junior High School, under the direction of Miss Maguire. As County Council President Mrs. H. Hearn will preside at the next meeting of the council, to be held Monday, at which the Mucci Auxiliary will entertain.

Plans Charter Night

Corp. Mathews-Purnell Post No. 518, 2712 Hayes avenue, plans to hold a charter member night. Commander Clarence Hewitt has appointed a committee to plan the affair and see that every charter member of the post who is still alive, is contacted and requested to be present. It is Hewitt's suggestion that along with this charter member night, that every member of the post at present should make every effort to obtain a new recruit or reinstatement and have them at the post home on February 28,  when the Commander-in-Chief Squyres, will deliver the obligation to thousands of recruits in all parts of these United States over a nationwide radio hookup.

Part of the program drawn up by the National Encampment held at Buffalo last September, and which is now spoken of all over our nation, known as "Keep America Out of War," is misunderstood by many citizens of this country, said Howard Bean, post publicity officer.

When the subject was discussed on the floor of Post No. 518 it was stated by Commander Hewitt that it should be known by all Americans that the V.F.W. unanimously reject the 'peace-at-any price' theory of the pacifist, but favors instead a strong national defense with sufficient power to command respect for America's neutrality in wars between other nations.

Quartermaster Perry J. Wark, declared it should prove to Congress the American people believe that adequate preparedness against war will discourage a challenge to war from nations, that know and respect our military strength.

Commander Hewitt, along with Michael Mungioli, Chester Knaub, Harry Cameron and Bean attended the State Department meeting at Burlington and the post's members will attempt to have some  representation at the next State meeting to be held somewhere in Bergen county, when the announcement will be made as to where the State encampment will be held this coming June.

Ladies Auxiliary, Corp. Mathews-Purnell Post, No. 518—At the regular meeting last Friday night there were as guests, Mrs. Hazel Hearn, Camden county president; Mrs. Lizette McCullough, both members of the Gross Hollingshed Auxiliary, and Mrs. Beirs and Mrs. Gaylord of the Sgt. W. T. Whitaker Auxiliary, No. 1952, of Pennsville. Wednesday night, a delegation of No. 518 members visited the newly-instituted Townsend Young Auxiliary, No. 3620, in Gloucester. Tonight after the  regular business session a "Lincoln Tea" will be held. Mrs. Minnie Martin will be hostess, assisted by Mrs. Irene Mensch.

Want Jersey as Name

Camden Post No. 980—Plans were laid for the coming "Poppy Drive" and Commander Sutton withheld the appointment of the chairman of this committee until next meeting.

Commander Sutton appointed Wm. E. Hilbmann as chairman to arrange for a tribute to those who lost their lives on the U. S. S. Maine that was blown up with the loss of 266 officers and men in the harbor of Havana, Cuba, in 1898, on next Tuesday night. All post officers and men will assemble at post quarters for this ceremony.

The post adopted a resolution to be sent the U. S. Navy Department and to Congressman Charles A. Wolverton that one of the new battleships be named after the State of New Jersey.

Commander Sutton lead a delegation of Post 980 to the Lt. H. Kenneth Elliott Post No. 1931, in Audubon, to witness the ceremonies when the traveling gavel was presented to that post by Corp. Mathews-Purnell Post No. 518 of Camden last night. 

Pup Tent Activities

Chigger Pup Tent No. 7, Military Order of the Cooties, Veterans of Foreign Wars held a scratch at the quarters of Camden Post No. 980, on Monday night. There were 77 members present and Seam Squirrel John J. Browne presided. Arrangements will be made to have the Pup Tent meet at the different posts, due to the fact that the members are from the different posts of the county.

James O'Brien was appointed chairman of the entertainment committee, was directed to plan for a show and to submit his report at the next meeting. Proceeds will go toward expenses of the tent to the national encampment of the V.F.W. in Columbus, Ohio, in September.

The formation of a Cootie Band was discussed and Cornelius A. Sullivan, drum major and manager of the drum and bugle corps of Camden Post No. 980, was asked to lead the movement.

Sutton and Harrold were instructed to find ways and means to get a suitable silk banner for the Pup Tent. They will report at the next meeting. Members were present from Corp. Mathews-Purnell Post, No. 518, Camden Post No. 980 and Capt. H. G. Sparrow Ship, No. 1260, of Camden; Gross-Hollingshed Post, No. 1270, of Pennsauken township; Townsend-Young Post, No. 3620, of Gloucester, and Post No. 1952, of Pennsville. The next meeting will be held at 308 Broadway, February 21.

Camden Courier-Post * July 22, 1941
George E. Brunner - William C. Schriver - Leo G. Stephans - Sgt. Ray Smith
Fred Vogel - Samuel Shapiro -
James H. O'Brien - Albert C. Becker - Roy C. Adams
Burnell S. Hartman -
Michael Mungioli - Carrie R. Bean - Anne D. Spooner
Engine Company 1 - Engine Company 3 - Engine Company 7 - Engine Company 8
Engine Company 9 - Engine Company 10 - Engine Company 11
Engine Company 2 (Fire Headquarters)

Camden Courier-Post - August 26, 1941

Henry Magin Laid to Rest By War Veteran Buddies

Funeral services for City Commissioner Henry Magin were held today with his colleagues in official and veterans circles participating.

Services were conducted in city commission chambers on the second floor of city hall, in charge of Rev. Dr. W.W. Ridgeway, rector of St. Wilfrid's Episcopal Church.

The casket was carried by war veteran associates of the public works director, who died from a heart attack Friday. A color guard from the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion preceded the casket, followed by the four remaining members of the city commission, Mayor George Brunner and commissioners E. George Aaron, Mrs. Mary W. Kobus and Dr. David S. Rhone.

A guard of honor lined both sides of' city hall steps, 22 policemen on one side and 22 firemen on the other, representing Magin's age, 44 years.

Hundreds of men and women waited outside the building to pay their respects as the solemn procession filed by. Mayor Brunner had declared this morning a holiday for city employees. The casket was borne by Thomas Jackson and Samuel Magill, both past Legion commanders; Leon McCarty, past commander of August Walter Chapter, Disabled American Veterans; Richard Jermyn, past commander of Post 1270, Veterans of Foreign Wars; Benjamin P. Thomas, past captain of Sparrow Ship No. 1269. V. F. W.; and William Miller, past State commander, D. A. V.  

Three trucks were required to carry the floral pieces from the scene of the services to the National Cemetery at Beverly, where burial took place.  

An estimated 8000 persons from all walks of life paid their respects to the late official by viewing the body as it lay in state in the commission chambers.

The throng of mourners of Camden city and county was the largest to converge on a public building since the funeral of Fire Chief Charles Worthington, who was killed while fighting a fire almost 20 years ago. His body was placed on public view in the rotunda of the old county courthouse.

File Past Bier  

A continuous progression of people filed past the flag draped bier for more than three and one-half hours. Scores of Republicans and hundreds of Democrats joined in the tribute.

Services were conducted by Camden lodges of Elks and Moose. Military rites were conducted by the Fairview Post, American Legion, of which Magin was a founder and past commander. The tribute was led by Mitchell Halin, post commander, and C. Richard Allen, past department commander. 

James W. Conner, chief clerk of the city water bureau and past State Commander of the V.F.W., conducted rites at the grave.  

Mayor Brunner and Commissioners Kobus, Aaron, and Rhone came early and remained throughout the hours of viewing. Mrs. Helen Magin, the widow, and daughter Helen, attired in deep mourning, arrived shortly after 7:00 PM.

Embraces Widow, Daughter  

Commissioner Kobus, who knelt in prayer before the bier, arose and went over to Mrs. Magin and her daughter. Mrs. Kobus embraced and kissed the widow and daughter of the late commissioner. They were in tears.  

Three firemen and three policemen maintained a vigil as a guard of honor. They were Patrolmen Jack Kaighn, George Weber, and William Deery and Firemen Arthur Batten, Warner Carter and William Reed.

American Legion and V. F. W. members in uniform alternated as members of the military guard of honor. A detail of 50 policemen was under command of Acting Lieutenant John Garrity. Fifty firemen, under supervision of Deputy Chief Walter Mertz, assisted the patrolmen in handling the crowd, which at times choked the stairways leading to the second floor.  

Freeholders Arrive  

Albert H. Molt, director of the Board of Freeholders and Freeholders John J. Tull, Oscar Moore, Ventorino Francesconi, Stanley Ciechanowski, Earl Armstrong and Emil J. McCall arrived shortly after 7:00 PM. Moore and Tull wore American Legion overseas caps. Albert S. Marvel, clerk of the board, accompanied the freeholders.

Employees of the various bureaus in the department of public works, headed by Commissioner Magin, came in delegations with the highway bureau having 150, the largest number.  

Frank A. Abbott, acting director of the department, accompanied by James P. Carr, superintendent of Streets; led the highway bureau employees. Abbott is deputy director of revenue and finance and first assistant to Mayor Brunner. He was named by Brunner as acting director until the City Commission elects Mr. Magin's successor.

County Clerk Frank J. Suttill, City Clerk Clay W. Reesman, Fire Chief John H. Lennox and James A. Howell, chief of the city electrical bureau, attended, as did Albert Austermuhl, secretary of the board of education. Every city department sent a floral piece.

Outstanding Floral Tribute

Outstanding among the floral tributes was a six-toot broken circle of varied flowers, an offering from Mayor Brunner and Commissioners Kobus, Aaron, andRhone.

A floral chair was sent by the Camden Police and Firemen’s Association. The word “Rest” was made up of flowers. The offering of the Veterans League of South Jersey, an organization formed by Commissioner Magin and of which he was the first president, was a large floral pillow.

The freeholders and county officials gave a large floral basket. Floral tributes came from the employees of the board of education, the RCA Manufacturing Company, the police and fire bureaus, Pyne Point Athletic Association, the Elks, Moose and several Democratic clubs.  

The floral tributes came in such numbers yesterday afternoon that Funeral Director Harry Leonard and his assistants could not find room for them in the commission chamber proper. They were banked on both sides, in the rear and over the casket.

Among prominent officials and citizens who came to pay their respects were Congressman Charles A. Wolverton and his son, Donnell, Assemblymen Joseph W. Cowgill and J. Frank Crawford, Sidney P. McCord, city comptroller, Thomas C. Schneider, president of Camden County Council No. 10, New Jersey Civil Service Association.

Others at Bier

Others were Sue Devinney, secretary to Mrs. Kobus; Fred S. Caperoon; Henry Aitken, city sealer of weights and measures, Horace R. Dixon, executive director of the Camden Housing Authority; George I. Shaw, vice president of the board of education.

Sgt. Ray Smith, chairman of the Elks Crippled Children Committee and commander of East Camden Post, V.F.W.; Albert Becker, commander of Camden County Post 126, Jewish War Veterans; Dr. Howard E. Primas and Wilbur F. Dobbins, members of the Camden Housing Authority; Postmaster Emma E. Hyland; Samuel E. Fulton, member of the Camden local assistance board.  

Also former Assemblyman Rocco Palese, former Freeholder Maurice Bart and wife, County Detective James Mulligan, Deputy City Clerk William D. Sayrs, Mary King, secretary to City Clerk Reesman, Charles W. Anderson and John W. Diehl Jr., former members of the housing authority, Walter P. Wolverton, chief clerk of the public works department; Thomas J. Kenney, Maurice Hertz, Isadore Hermann, chief of the city tax title bureau; S. Raymond Dobbs; acting chief of city property, John Oziekanski, building inspector, Harry Langebein, city assessor.

Oliver H. Bond, housing manager of Clement T. Branch Village; former Judge Joseph Varbalow, acting city counsel John J. Crean, assistant City Counsel Edward V. Martino, Paul Day, secretary of city board of assessors, former Assemblyman William T. Iszard, Harry Roye, district director of NYA; Victor J. Scharle and Martin Segal, Democratic and Republican registrars, respectively, of the Camden County permanent registration bureau.  

Mrs. Marian Garrity and Mrs. Mary F. Hendricks, vice chairman and secretary respectively, of the Republican City Committee; Dr. Ethan A. Lang and Dr. Richard P. Bowman, members of the board of education; Edward J. Borden, Carl Kisselman, Harry A. Kelleher, Samuel T. French Sr., former Freeholder Walter Budniak, Coroner Paul R. Rilatt, County Treasurer Edward J. Kelleher, William Shepp, of the city legal bureau, Marie Carr, stenographer, mayor's office; Samuel T. French Jr., member, board of education.

Also John C. Trainor, member of the Camden County Board of Elections; Antonio Mecca, funeral director; Alexander Feinberg, solicitor of the housing authority, former Freeholder John T. Hanson, Sterling Parker and Paul Reihman, member of the county park commission.  

James O’Brien, commander of the Camden Disabled American Veterans, was in charge of services by veterans at the cemetery. Former Freeholder Edward J. Quinlan, county vice-commander of the American Legion, directed last night memorial services and was in charge of the firing squad at the grave.  

Camden Courier-Post
March 29, 1944