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Cyril J. O'Brien, public relations supervisor

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Saturday, March 5, 2011; 5:35 PM

Cyril J. O'Brien, who retired in 1983 as supervisor of publications at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, died of renal failure at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda on Jan. 31, the day after his 92nd birthday. He was a Kensington resident.

Cyril John O'Brien was born in St. John's, Newfoundland. His family moved to the United States during the Depression and settled in Camden, N.J.

He received a bachelor's degree in English from St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia in 1942 and a master's degree in communications from American University in 1965.

Mr. O'Brien began his career as a police and courts reporter in Camden. During World War II, he served in the Marine Corps as a combat correspondent. He covered action on Bougainville and Guam, intermittently exchanging his notebook and pen for a rifle.

He took part of the invasion of Iwo Jima and was on the beach when the Marines raised the American flag atop Mount Suribachi. He left the Marine Corps as a captain.

After the war, Mr. O'Brien moved to Washington and worked as a journalist on Capitol Hill as a congressional correspondent for the Trentonian and other New Jersey newspapers.

While continuing to work as a freelance journalist, he began working at the Johns Hopkins laboratory in 1949.

His wife of 25 years, Elizabeth Barr O'Brien, died in 1975.

Survivors include four children, Bridget Turow and Patricia Cahill, both of Silver Spring, Johnine Meehan of Downington, Pa., and Anthony O'Brien of Frederick; and seven grandchildren.

- T. Rees Shapiro

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