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Dr. Patricia J. O'Brien

Dr. Patricia J. O'Brien Patricia Joan O’Brien, age 84, of Manhattan, died March 24, 2019.

She was born on April 1, 1935 in Chicago, Illinois, the daughter of Jack and Edna O’Brien.

Patricia is survived by her sister, Nora Whitford (Clarence) of Chicago, and her brother Dennis O’Brien (Phyllis) of Las Vegas; and her nephews: David Whitford, of Chicago and Jared James O’Brien of Salt Lake City.

She was married to Angelo C. Garzio in 1980. They were later divorced in 1987. He preceded her in death in January 2008.

Patricia attended the Wright Junior College in Chicago and earned an Associates of Art Degree. She then attended the University of Illinois in Urbana and earned her B.A. in Anthropology in 1962 and her PhD in 1969.

Dr. O’Brien was an Interim Instructor at Florida Atlantic University from 1966-1967. She then took a position as an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Kansas State University in 1967. She also was a visiting Assistant Professor at The University of Kansas and member of the Graduate College Faculty at KU. Currently she was a Distinguished Emeritus Professor at Kansas State University.

She earned many honors during her career. In 2009 she earned the Distinguished Service Award, Plains Anthropological Society, and the 2009 Advocacy Award, Kansas Preservation Alliance, Inc. She was also the Fulbright Senior Guest Professor in 1994-1995 and a Nominated Member of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, 1996.

Dr. O’Brien was a member of the American Anthropology Association, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Society for American Archaeology, New Zealand Archaeological Association, the Canadian Archaeological Association, Plains Anthropological Society, and nine other state archaeological societies.

She wrote many articles and had many publications over the years. Locally known publications are: Architects and Building of Manhattan, Kansas, and Digging K-State: The History of Bluemont Central College. She wrote over 50 articles during her career as well as many notes, letters, commentaries, and book reviews.

She will be missed by her family, many friends and colleagues, and students from her years as a professor.

A graveside service for the family and close friends will be held on Saturday March 30, 2019 at 10:30 a.m. at the Sunrise Cemetery in Manhattan.

A Celebration of Life service and reception will be held on Saturday June 22, 2019 from 1:00 until 4:00 p.m. at the KSU Alumni Center-Tadtman Room, 100 Alumni Center, 1720 Anderson Avenue in Manhattan.

Memorial contributions to the Patricia J. O’Brien Scholarship Award in Archaeology (Q81610) may be made to the Kansas State University Foundation (Fund M47256), 1800 Kimball Avenue Suite 200, Manhattan, Kansas 66502 or online at

The Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home, 1616 Poyntz Avenue, Manhattan, Kansas 66502, is assisting the family with the funeral arrangements.

Online condolences may be left for the family through the funeral home website at

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