Jill O’Brien

Jill O’Brien

Jill Louise O’Brien, PhD, OP (formerly Sr Job) of Chicago, IL died peacefully in her home Wednesday afternoon, June 30, 2021. Jill’s parents John J & Jean V. (née Pellettieri) O’Brien preceded her in death. Jill is survived by her two siblings: John D O’Brien, Dr. Judith A O’Brien (the late Malcolm) Heyworth and three beloved nieces: Catherine Heyworth, Christina Heyworth, Caroline Heyworth.

Family, faith, learning and teaching were Jill’s passions. Jill had a big personality. Her wonderful laugh, gift for funny storytelling, quick wit, and deep loyalty will always be remembered by those lucky enough to have known her.

Jill’s formal education began at Queen of All Saints elementary school, Regina Dominican High School and Siena Heights College in Adrian MI where she took vows as a Dominican (1968), Her formal education continued at Loyola University (Chicago) and then the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana) where she earned her doctorate in Communication (1974). Jill’s list of lifelong learning achievements and certifications are innumerable.

Jill taught many levels of students ranging from 1st graders (Toledo, OH) to college students at Murray State U (KY)and then undergrad, grad, post-grad & professional students through DePaul University, (Chicago) where she was on the faculty for over 34 years. During her long career she was instrumental in expanding the Communication class offerings through their English Dept. When a Dept of Communication was created Jill authored it’s constitution, generated the first concentrations in the new department’s curriculum and served as it’s second-ever chairperson. She was also responsible for restructuring and professionalizing DePaul’s radio station. DePaul eventually launched a separate College of Communication (2008) with Jill developing many of it’s new programs & initiatives including a first ever orientation program for edjunct faculty which became the model for other colleges. Even as she prepared for retirement Jill served on the University Committee on Academic Policy. After her retirement Jill became a recipient of DePaul’s Via Sapientiae Award – the highest award which can be conferred upon a member of the DePaul community to recognize distinctive and extraordinary contributions to the university throughout a professional career.


Jill also had a full private life which included volunteering enormous amounts of her time, energy & boundless talents to her work for the Dominicans. This included serving on the Advisory Board of Dominican University ‘s McGreal Center. She was the Central Province archivist and in 2013 crafted the Lay Dominican Oral History project (LDOH). Jill was honored to represent Dominican Laity for the entire USA in Rome for the 800th anniversary of the death of St Dominic (2017).


Jill touched thousands of lives during her lifetime. In her home during her last days on earth a priest from her longtime parish (QAS) anointed her, Rainbow Hospice followed her, closest family cared for her & sat vigil in person as countless others added their prayers for the angel of peace to watch over Jill and lead her to the reign of God.


St Catherine of Siena said “be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire”. Jill did just that.

Services and interment private. Burial Mt Carmel Cemetery. Prayers, masses, & sharing of a memory on her Smith Corcoran Funeral Home legacy site page will be appreciated. For further information contact Smith Corcoran Funeral Home at 773-736-3833

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