REST IN PEACE AL O’BRIEN
October 23, 1949 – July 8, 2021
Last Thursday, we lost fellow Board member, community icon, and dear friend, Al O’Brien. Al has been a friend to the Strawberry Music Festival community since the early days, and had just joined Rock In Road’s Board of Directors in 2019. Besides being an incredibly kind and wonderful person, Al O’Brien is widely known for having the knowhow and the drive to get stuff done. He got a lot of good stuff done for this community during his time here, and the impact of his work here will continue to benefit others for generations to come. Al was particularly involved in our annual Band Stand fundraiser and in 2019, he helped Rock In Road to raise over $22,000 towards instrument purchases for local school band programs, by helping to obtain a matching grant from the Sonora Area Foundation. He also helped the Band Stand event find its home at the Sheriff Posse Grounds and forge a partnership between our two organizations. Even though, Al was on sabbatical from active Board duty, he still managed to reserve the grounds for our date this year, as well as securing Posse sponsorship of the event.
Long before Rock In Road, Al O’Brien’s involvement with the Strawberry Music Festival dates back to the beginning and spans a range of capacities, over many years time. In the early 80’s he helped to procure new coin operated washing machines when Strawberry was managing the laundry facilities at Camp Mather, along with the General Store. Many years later Strawberry had the good fortune of working with Al at Westside as the liaison to the Tuolumne Economic Development Authority (TEDA). After he had retired from TEDA, Al helped manage marketing for the festival and eventually became Strawberry’s Fire Marshall Liaison at the Nevada County Fairgrounds. Over this past two years, everyone involved in the Strawberry Music Festival and Rock In Road organizations were heartily looking forward to returning to the work with Al, as well as just being able to visit with our dear friend.
This year instead, we will have to look to the legacy of a man that was larger than life itself and try to live by the example he set for us. Al O’Brien was, and is, so very respected and loved by so many people, and so many different kinds of people. He will be deeply missed on our Board and in our community. We offer our deepest condolences to his beautiful wife and daughters, to the rest of his family, and to his many, many friends. Rest in peace Al <3