George M. O'Brien

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George M. O'Brien

George Miller O'Brien (June 17, 1917 - July 17, 1986) is a former member of the United States House of Representatives. He was a Republican who represented Illinois' 17th congressional district.

O'Brien was born in Chicago, Illinois to a middle-class Irish Catholic family. He attended a private Catholic school before entering Northwestern University. He is a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. O'Brien earned a law degree from Yale Law School in 1947. However, he did not get to practice law until returning from World War II. During the war, O'Brien rose to the rank of lieutenant while fighting in Germany. Beginning in 1946, he practiced law privately. In 1970, he was appointed to the state's Legislative Advisory Committee, and in 1971 he was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives.

After just one term in the state House, O'Brien successfully ran for Congress in 1973. O'Brien was a near centrist who was popular among members of both parties. Following redistricting in 1982, he and fellow Republican Ed Derwinski were drawn into the same district, which retained Derwinski's number, the 4th. Though Derwinski had 14 years more seniority then O'Brien, O'Brien won the primary, and then general elections. In April 1986, O'Brien discovered that he had prostate cancer, which forced him to resign from that year's election. He succumbed to the disease just two months later. Fellow Illinois Republican Congressman John E. Grotberg too died of cancer just four months later.

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United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Leslie C. Arends
U.S. Representative of Illinois' 17th Congressional District
1973–1983
Succeeded by
Lane Evans
Preceded by
Ed Derwinski
U.S. Representative of Illinois' 4th Congressional District
1983–1986
Succeeded by
Jack Davis