Longtime industry veteran James O’Brien, vice president of sales and marketing for Odyssey Systems, passed away September 13 after a courageous battle with aplastic anemia.

O’Brien was born August 11, 1946 in Los Angeles, Calif. As a child of two Disney artists, he spent his childhood in Burbank and Hidden Hills, Calif., and graduated from Taft High School.

After high school, O’Brien joined the Air Force and was stationed at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii and in the Philippines. He later attended Moorpark College and graduated with an associate’s degree.

O’Brien was an exceptional potter. In addition to working at Calabasas Potters, he also sold his work at the Pumpkin Festival and the Renaissance Faire.

In the 1970’s, he began installing redwood hot tubs with his construction company, Wooden Environments, which would serve as his introduction to a career in our industry that would span more than 40 years.

Though O’Brien spent most of his career in California, he relocated to La Grange, Ga., from 1985 to 1988 to be the Western Regional Sales Manager for Rinnai America Corporation. After a short stint in Delevan, Wis., he returned to Los Angeles, Calif., to work for Aquality. In 1992, he became the vice president of sales and marketing for Odyssey Systems in San Clemente, Calif.

"We're deeply saddened by the news of Jim's passing late last week,” says Stan Chambers, western sales manager at AQUA. “He's been a great friend to a lot of people in this industry. His easygoing demeanor and enthusiasm for life was always welcomed by those around him. I'm sure I can speak on behalf of many when I say that we're all better people for having known Jim O'Brien."

O’Brien enjoyed travel, music, and was an avid reader. He was a member of the San Clemente Exchange Club, a philanthropic organization, and enjoyed the comradery there. His other hobbies included spending time with family and friends, surfing, skiing, golfing and enjoying a good cigar.

Donations can be made in Jim’s name to The City of Hope, a cancer treatment center in Duarte, Calif.