Maureen Nanette O’Brien


Maureen Nanette O’Brien, stepped into heaven on Saturday, June 12, 2021. While fighting hard for healing, she grew weary and decided to move on from this earth. She was surrounded by loved ones, many speaking into her ear celebrating her life with her.

Many knew Maureen as a nationally recognized artist for her works with acrylic. She mostly painted on canvas, but worked with leather, repurposed objects, and a myriad of other materials. She produced her art in limited edition prints and infusion onto steel, She was commissioned for a significant number of murals throughout Minnesota and the northern states.

Born in St. Paul on August 13, 1942, to Walter Fetsch and Mavis (Sandvig). She was raised in St. Paul by her grandparents, William and Clara Fetsch until age 11, then moved to Shoreview attending Mounds View High School. She graduated in 1960. She attended the University of Minnesota for 2 years.

She lived 9 years in the Santa Rosa, California area and made many lasting friendships while there. Nestled in the wine country of the Sonoma and Napa Valleys, her life in Santa Rosa change, but also experiences. She loved the famer’s markets and local produce that the long growing seasons allowed. She also enjoyed the ocean.

Moving back to Minnesota in 1977, she settled into her beloved Evergreen Farm and created a sanctuary for people and critters alike. Her art studio, with barn, greenhouse, and garden, created a haven for her, her children, and grandchildren for many decades. She was so well known for always having a pot of soup on the stove, ready to serve. She would sit and chat with anyone that came her way. She made countless connections with people, listening, and truly engaging on a level that made everyone feel valued and loved. Her legacy of love is what her family and friends aspire to carry on, loving well.

Maureen’s art was a gift, as demonstrated throughout her many works. She began pursuing art as a young girl, creating masterpieces on her bedroom wall. In 1965, she began giving and selling her art turning a pursuit into a career, albeit a passion. She was self-taught and grew and expanded her talent with practice as well as studying others. Her profound talent was her ability to adeptly capture the peace and serenity of nature around her. Maureen often said she wanted her art to bring God’s peace to people and she did just that in so many ways.

She was contracted to create murals in many businesses in Minnesota, and a Maureen O’Brien Art Tour Map is being created and will be distributed for many to enjoy for years to come throughout Bemidji and Northern Minnesota. The family and local art organizations will also be working to set up an art scholarship in her name through Gallery North in Bemidji, Minnesota.

Maureen’s heart was giving, she taught many how to paint over the years. On several occasions she has painted murals in schools with children helping design and participate in the painting in local elementary and high schools. She instructed for years at Concordia Language Villages, Itasca State Park, Headwaters Music & Arts, Gallery North, her own studio, and multiple other locations. She taught with such grace and humility, always ready to help each student enjoy the process and rejoiced with them in their finished product as “uniquely theirs!”

Her love of creation is something that we all adored about her. She would often look at a sunset, a baby duckling, or a fragrant flower and speak aloud, “Thank You, God.” She loved Him and taught us too also. She always had an eye to stop and “see the beauty” wherever she went. These moments live on, and we can each carry that with us to others. We are so grateful for her life.

Maureen is survived by her five children; Pamela Mertz (Lou); Suzie Takle; Andrew Takle (Kristina); Daniel O’Brien; and Katie Leopard. She has 7 grandsons: Jeremy, Adam, Dylan; Johnathan, Thomas, Nathaniel; Dominic, and one granddaughter, Magnolia Maureen, her namesake. She is also survived by siblings Todd Fetsch (Mary Jo); Keith Moldenhauer (Mary), Cindy Johnannessohn, Becky Alton, Claudia Cohn, Teri Welch, Wendy Harrington, Tammy Fetsch, and Bill Fetsch, two cousins, and many nieces and nephews that all carry cherished memories of “Aunt Meem”. Maureen is preceded in death by her parents; firstborn grandson, Jeremy, nephew Tyler, and niece Ashley.

A Celebration of Life will be held on August 13th, 2021, at Hampton Inn, in Bemidji MN, from 3 to 7 pm. Watch for more details closer to the event on her Caring Bridge Site. Maureen O’Brien’s CaringBridge Site

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