Former Va. delegate Billy O'Brien dies

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Former state delegate Joseph William "Billy" O'Brien passed away Friday in a local hospital.

O'Brien, 83, graduated from Wilson High School in Portsmouth where he was a star football, basketball and track athlete. He was awarded a full scholarship to play football at the University North Carolina Chapel Hill.

He served as a captain in the U.S. Marine Corp and was a teacher with the Chesapeake Public Schools. O'Brien was also a legendary football coach for Great Bridge High School from 1955 - 1974.

O'Brien served in the Virginia General Assembly House of Delegates from 1974 - 1991 and served as Chairman of the Education Committee. He was known as "Father of Lottery." Two of his major political accomplishments were the State Lottery and the state university license plates.

He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Joyce Ann O'Brien; a daughter, Marlene Castellow and husband Dale, and their children, Kevin and Katie of Burke, a son, Joseph William O'Brien III and wife Kristina of Virginia Beach,  and a sister, Eileen Chase of Arizona.

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Hollomon-Brown Funeral Home, Great Neck Chapel. Burial will follow in Princess Anne Memorial Park. The family will receive friends at the funeral home Monday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Virginia Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad. Condolences may be offered to the family at

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