On Tuesday, May 5th, 2020, Stephen Neill O’Brien, “Chef O’B”, at the age of 68, passed away at home in Ithaca, NY.
He was born to parents Gerard and Gertrude O’Brien, on September 9th, 1951 in Utica, NY. Steve lived the majority of his life in Ithaca, NY.
Steve graduated from The Culinary Institute of America, where he received a degree in Culinary Arts. Steve went on to wear many “Chef” hats. Chef O’B was the sous chef at the 5-star Wigwam resort in Phoenix, Arizona. He then became the executive chef of both Cornell’s award-winning Robert Purcell Marketplace and North Star Dining Room. Steve was a well-respected chef in the community for over 30 years. He had a hand in some of the community’s favorite food experiences, including Finger Lakes Flat Bread, Serendipity Catering, and Luna Street Food. Most recently, Chef O’B worked in the fish department at the Ithaca Wegman’s where he loved helping people create the perfect meal and he always had a recipe to share.
Food was not his only passion, he also loved working with horses, it was something that came easy to him. He started as a groom in the world of thoroughbred horse racing and eventually worked with Cornell Equine and Laura Thorn, of Thornbrook Farms.
He was an athlete; he played lacrosse and coached his kids, surfed, and skied. Later in life, rollerblading became one of his favorite ways to exercise. He was a musician; he played the saxophone, had a passion for jazz and loved to sing. Steve was a photographer. He loved a Cayuga Lake sunset and spent much of his time with a camera around his neck.
Whether you had known him for decades or had met him once, Steve had a way of making immediate friendships. He animated any room he was in and could make just about anyone laugh. He was loved and will be missed by many in our community, especially his three children; Brenna, Austin and Connor O’Brien, siblings; Michael, John, Kate, and Robert O’Brien, his nephew Sean O’Brien, and nieces Colette O’Brien and Coleen Fitzsimmons.
In light of coronavirus, a date for a celebration of life for Steve is not yet been set. In the meantime, please consider sending any stories and photos of Steve to firstname.lastname@example.org and keep him and his family in your thoughts.