He was born in 1958 to Robert and Barbara O’Brien. We grew up in Westborough, Mass. Kevin graduated from high school in 1975 and joined the Army in (I believe) 1979. He learned Czech at DLI and became a Ranger and a member of Special Forces.
Kevin’s happiest times were in the Army. He loved the service and was deeply committed to it. We were so proud when he earned the Green Beret. He was active duty for eight years and then stayed in the Reserves and National Guard for many years, including a deployment to Afghanistan in 2003. He told me after that that Afghan tour was when he felt he had made his strongest contribution to the world.
Kevin worked for a number of companies after leaving active duty. He had always loved weapons, history, the military, and writing, and saw a chance to combine all of his interests by creating Weaponsman.com. I think the quality of the writing was what always brought people back.
. . .
He … called 911 on Friday afternoon and was taken to the ER with what turned out to be a massive heart attack. Evidently he was conscious when he was brought in, but his heart stopped and he was revived after 60 minutes of CPR. He never reawakened.
On Saturday, he was transported to Brigham and Women’s where the medical staff made absolutely heroic efforts to save his life. Our dad came up on Sunday and we visited him Sunday, Monday, and today. Each day his condition became worse.
As of last night, it was obvious to everyone that he had almost no chance of survival; and that if he did by some chance survive, he would have no quality of life. Kevin’s heart was damaged beyond repair, his kidneys were not functioning, he had not regained consciousness, and he had internal bleeding that could not be stopped. We made the decision this morning to terminate life support.
There’s more at the link, including a contact e-mail for anyone wishing to express condolences.
I’m particularly saddened by Kevin’s death for a number of reasons. The most important, of course, is his encyclopedic knowledge of firearms, which is now lost to us. Few individuals knew as much as he on the subject, or were as generous in sharing their knowledge with the rest of us. Kevin also did me the honor of reading here, and quoted me on occasion on his own blog, which was very kind of him.
I’m also sad because Kevin and I were of an age, and he was struck down by an unexpected heart attack that came out of nowhere, just as I was in 2009. I survived mine, but his must have been far worse. I suppose it’s a reminder that “in the midst of life, we are in death”, as the traditional funeral service goes. None of us know the day or the hour on which we’ll be taken. All we can do is live each day to its fullest, and make the most of it. It sounds as if his family didn’t have time to talk to him, although they were able to be with him during his last days. That, at least, is a small mercy.
I don’t know whether the WeaponsMan blog will remain available or not. If any of you have favorite posts there that have been useful to you, it might be a very good idea to save copies of them over the next couple of days, just in case.
May Kevin rest in peace, and may his sins be forgiven him. He will be missed.