Aidan O’BRIEN (1942-2015)

Aidan was born in Dublin, Ireland on 15 August 1942 the son of Jeremiah O’Brien (1901-1985) and Anastasia Grennell (1907-1980).

About 1968, he married Pauline Leslie Wills (1945-1995) and they had four children: Shannon, Kerry, Anastasia and Erin. About 1995 he married Betty Lou Burke.

Businessman, Community Activist

Aidan served in many different capacities in both his career and community work. He was President and CEO of Manitoba Blue Cross, Superintendent of Pensions for the Province of Manitoba, founding President of the Irish Association of Manitoba, founding Artistic Director of Tara Players Theatre Company, co-founder of the Acting Irish International Theatre Festival, President of the Folk Arts Council, Chair of the St. Boniface Hospital Foundation, President of the Winnipeg Fury Soccer Club, Inductee into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame, board member of the Manitoba Theatre Centre, Venture Manitoba and Winnipeg Police Commission and recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal. He was honoured to serve as the Honorary Irish Consul to the Province of Manitoba from 2012-2015. Aidan was an avid golfer and a former President of the Pine Ridge Golf Club; he was recognized as one of the 100 most influential people in the club’s history.

Aidan was an active philanthropist supporting many charitable community initiatives. He was fondly known as the “Godfather of the Irish Community in Manitoba”. He founded the Irish Association of Manitoba in 1972 and, in so doing, he brought together Irish immigrants of all religious, geographical and political backgrounds to form a family here in Canada.

He died at his Winnipeg home on 15 December 2015.


  • Ireland, Civil Registration Births and Deaths Index, com.
  • Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 19 December 2015, page A32.
  • Obituary [Pauline Leslie O’Brien], Winnipeg Free Press, 05 April 1995, page C7.


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