Eugene W. O'Brien

Born: July 17, 1925

Hometown: Toledo, Ohio

Job aboard: Wheelsman

Biographical information: Eugene "Great Lakes Gambler" O'Brien was born on July 17, 1925 in Minnesota. He first started working on ships in 1941 at the age of sixteen, and later married Nancy Ann Minarcin on September 3, 1956 at age 31. Nancy and Eugene had one child, John.

Eugene was normally home with his wife and son during vacations, the winter months, and for about ten hours every five days (whenever he was not on a ship working). He loved playing cards with his family during his vacations. The O'Briens later divorced in 1962.

Eugene sailed on the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald more than once in his lifetime, and he sailed on the Fitzgerald during it's last voyage as wheelsman. According to Eugene's son, John O'Brien, Eugene was probably in the pilothouse when the ship sank; he had the 4-8 pm shift.

Eugene O'Brien worked on Great Lakes freighters for thirty years out of a thirty-four year period. During those four years between freighter jobs, Eugene worked in a glass factory.

O'Brien loved casinos. If you were new to a casino, or something to that nature, you could always count on Eugene to point you into the right direction of any game that you may have wanted to play. His son, John still remembers all the good days with his father and card playing. John currently lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with his wife and three daughters: Brittany, Megan, and Bridget.