Danny J. O'Brien Sr.


GLOUCESTER - On Thursday, Dec. 4, 2003, surrounded by family and friends, Danny Jay O'Brien Sr., 54, peacefully gave up his gallant fight after a long illness. He was a lifelong gifted musician who started his first band 'Danny and the DelNotes' at age 14 and continued his music until Jan. 1, 2003. He was an employee of Curtis Key Plumbing and Heating. He was a native of Newport News and had been a resident of Gloucester for the past eight years and was a member of St. Vincent dePaul Catholic Church. He was preceded in death by his father, Michael John O'Brien; and his stepfather, Eddie G. Kellis. Survivors include his loving mother, Helen Kellis; his daughter, Amy Dixon and her husband, Chuck; his son, Danny J. O'Brien Jr.; fiancée, Eileen Williams; two sisters, Patricia Delles and her husband, Gerald, and Helen Lehman and her husband, Robert; two brothers, Michael J. O'Brien III and Timothy J. O'Brien and his wife, Denise; four grandchildren, Haleigh, Gentry, Grace Ann Dixon, and Gannon O'Brien; many nieces and nephews, cousins, aunts and uncles; and many good and loyal friends. Danny was a loving son, brother, father, grandfather, uncle, and friend. He took great pleasure in doing nice things for his grandchildren and family. His love of music brought happiness to many people. He will be greatly missed by all. A prayer service will be held 6:30 p.m. Monday at Peninsula Funeral Home followed by visitation until 8 p.m. A funeral service will be conducted 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. Vincent dePaul Catholic Church. Burial will follow in Peninsula Memorial Park. Memorial contributions may take the form of donations to St. Vincent's Backdoor Ministry, 230 - 33rd Street, Newport News, VA 23607.

Published in the Daily Press from 12/7/2003 - 12/8/2003.


We have lost a great friend-musician and singer.  I sit here and remember seeing Danny riding in a red Chevy convertible in 1965 with his red hair flapping in the breeze. I always said, "I want to be just like him."  My Friend Bruce and I used to go to his house on 74th Street in the summer time and wake him up in the morning and I could never figure out why he is was so tired.  Now I know, from playing music all night.  Danny gave me a bunch of leads in the music business and the rest is history. We'll miss you pal. Tommy Clark is right; we'll have a heck of band waiting when we get there.  You'll be sadly missed.
     Jerry Lee Scott (Newport News, VA )
     December 8, 2003

Danny was such a good part of my pre high school days as well as high school days. As my pre high school days Danny's mom would baby sit me and my brother Billy and when Danny would get home he would pick on us and Timmy would come to our rescue...Then Danny would get on the piano in the living room and just play it. During my high school days we would have the Friday night dances and there was Danny. I can still see him there just doing his magic on the keyboard with that great big organ and tilting it back and forth...wow does that bring back those good old days. To Helen, Timmy and the whole family my heart felt sincere sympathy for your loss.
     Denise Drummond (Hampton, VA )
     December 8, 2003

Thanks Danny - you will always be remembered for the joy your music gave to a generation of teenagers almost 40 years ago.
     Jo Ann Stewart (San Antonio, TX )
     December 8, 2003
Farewell, my friend.  I've said good by to so many musician buddies in the last few years that I'm sure there's going to be one heck of a band waiting for me one day.  My heartfelt sorrow to all the family and friends.  Danny will truly be missed by all whose lives he touched.
     Tommy Clark (Hampton, VA )
     December 8, 2003

Helen & Tim,
I am saddened to see Danny's obituary on the computer. He brings back so many memories of the old days playing music. Jimmy always thought so much of Danny and loved it so much when he would play with us at church. His playing and singing was so soulful. What a gift to share with us all! It was my privilege to be able to sing with him. My love and prayers are with you.
Love, Tina
     Tina (Bevelacqua) Hayman (Amherst, VA )
     December 8, 2003
We will always love you and remember the good times, at O'Sullivan's.
Millie and Joey
     Millie Palmer (Norfolk, VA )
     December 8, 2003

I am sorry to hear of Danny's passing.  I too grew up in Parkview and remember the first time I saw Danny play piano, was at the Boys Club.  Just like everyone else locally, I was a part of Danny's musical following and spent many a weekend at the Peninsula Auditorium and Kage Club watching Danny & The Delnotes and wishing I had his talent. Danny is the reason I played music and got involved in music in this area.  Tonight I'll be listening to my Del-Note 45's and thinking about my friend.  May God bless Danny and his extended family.  I'll never forget him.       

     Tom Hudgins (Newport News, VA )

     December 7, 2003



My thoughts and prayers are with the family.  We had many great times together.  Danny will be missed by those who loved him and his music.  

     Debbie Easterling (Smithfield, VA )

     December 7, 2003




     December 7, 2003


Sorry to hear about Danny passing; he will be greatly missed.  Will always have good memories of him and the band.  God bless.

     Martha Price-Sorrells (Yorktown, VA )

     December 7, 2003


Sympathy to the mother and family and friends of Danny O'Brien.  Mrs. Kellis knows me as the son of the late Gloria Waggoner, formerly of 625 72nd St., Newport News.  Like all other Parkview area kids, I remember "Danny and the DelNotes."  Would always ask about Danny when I would see Mrs. Kellis.   

     Mark Waggoner (Newport News, VA )

     December 7, 2003


Danny will be missed by his family in Maryland.  Danny spent many summers in Maryland during his childhood and always had fond and loving memories of time spent with family and friends.  My mother who loved Danny dearly treasured a very special tape that he had made for her of his favorite songs.  This summer Danny made a special effort to spend time with family in Maryland and let each of us know how much he loved us and he reminded each of us how important family is.  Danny, we will always have a song in our hearts because of you. Your loving cousin, Margie      

     Margie Cheseldine (Coltons Point, MD )

     December 7, 2003    


Dear Helen and Family,

Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I know you will miss him very much.


Barbara Kesner

     Barbara Kesner (Chesapeake, VA )

     December 7, 2003      


I am so sorry to hear of Danny's passing. Although I have not seen Danny in many, many years I still often think of those fond and wonderful memories he gave to so many of us through his music. He was indeed a great person.

     Jo Ann Carson Williams (Poquoson, VA )

     December 7, 2003



Thirty-five years faded away when I heard of the death of Danny O'Brien.  I was once again in the Peninsula Auditorium listening to the young man with the long red hair, pounding the keyboard with spellbinding enthusiasm and singing his note perfect rendition of "96 Tears".  Danny and the DelNotes provided a tremendous amount of musical pleasure to this area for decades, and the talent and charisma of Danny O'Brien will never be forgotten. We are sadly reminded that the brightest stars do burn out more quickly and I consider myself fortunate to be one of the many who experienced Danny's musical light.  He was a true icon in the local music industry and will be greatly missed by all whose lives he touched.

My heartfelt sympathy to Pat, Helen Jean and the entire family.   

     Rhonda Brogden (Poquoson, VA )

     December 7, 2003      



     Louie Pucci (Newport News, VA )

     December 7, 2003    




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