The Northeastern Midget Association lost one of its most dedicated competitors and contributors Monday with the passing of Jimmy O’Brien. As a car owner and officer, O’Brien helped to write over four decades of NEMA history.
A long-time Cheshire, CT resident, O’Brien, 69, died of complications of an aortic aneurysm repair at New York Presbyterian Medical Center.
A NEMA member since 1970, O’Brien said his greatest moment came in 1990 when son Matt jumped into his #16. That relationship carried into this season.
Introduced to the Midgets by his father, O’Brien got involved back in the early 1950s. After two years working with others in NEMA, he joined the owner ranks with the Ray Kelly #33. He always referred to Kelly, a NEMA legend, “as my mentor.” Chuck Daniel and Len Thrall also played key roles in O’Brien’s early career.