Obituary to Former Pupil Ray O'Brien
The death has occurred at the age of 74 of St Mary's old boy, Raymond Francis (Ray) O'Brien, who will be best remembered for a long career in local government in which he held a series of high-level appointments.
He was born in February 1936, in south Liverpool, but brought up in Litherland and educated at the College from where he won a scholarship to study classics at St. Edmund Hall Oxford. He held a lifelong admiration for the Christian Brothers and the education they gave him.
After his National Service in the Royal Navy he graduated from Oxford with a law degree before beginning his distinguished association with local government.
His first appointment was at Cheshire County Council where he qualified as an accountant.
Ray then moved to Nottinghamshire County Council as Assistant County Treasurer and became its first Chief Executive following the reorganisation of local authorities by the Heath government.
In 1978 he returned to home ground as Chief Executive of Merseyside County Council where he faced the challenge of the severe economic decline of the once-thriving area.
But there was a very happy event during this period the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1982, when Ray greeted the Papal party in his capacity as Deputy Lord Lieutenant and was also asked by the then Archbishop, Derek Worlock, to read at Liverpool Cathedral's Papal Mass.
After the Government's abolition of Merseyside County Council, Ray moved to Solihull and subsequently to London to take further senior executive positions, first as Chief Executive of Severn Trent Water Authority and then a similar post for Fimbra, a financial regulatory authority.
Ray later moved back to Merseyside where he used his considerable strategic investment and development experience as Chairman of Speke Garston Development Company, which eventually became Liverpool Land Development Company.
He was recognised for services to Merseyside in this capacity, being awarded the CBE in the Queen's 2000 Birthday Honours.
On a personal note, Ray's interests were wide-reaching, including the classics, reading, gardening and music. He was also famed for his generous hospitality.
A particular passion throughout this life was sport, both professional and amateur, and he was a lifelong supporter of Liverpool FC. In his earlier years he was a keen participant himself, playing rugby to county level for Staffordshire and also captaining Chester RUFC for 3 years. He also played cricket to a good club standard.
Ray died peacefully in his sleep on May 3rd after suffering from several illnesses in recent years.
He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Wendy, and their four children - Martin, Jacqui, Neil and Kathryn - and eight grandchildren.