Funeral for newspaper Co-Publisher GayNell O’Brien will be held Monday, Aug. 23rd at First Baptist Church, Eastland at 10:00 a.m. with burial in the family plot at Pleasant Hill following. Visitation will be at Kimbrough Funeral Home in Cisco on Aug. 22, from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Mrs. O’Brien died Monday of respiratory failure (non-Covid) at Hendrick Hospital where she had been airlifted after several briefly unsuccessful respiratory efforts at the home by Eastland Fire Department and Emergency service personnel as well as on the flight area site before being air lifted to Abilene. The Eastland Volunteer Fire Department and Eastland EMT are named honorary pallbearers.
Born Jan. 23,1938 in Rotan, Tx; GayNell’s parents are the late Allen and Mable Ratliff and later, step-father, the late Ted Rogers of Cisco.
GayNell graduated from Rotan High School. She and H.V. O’Brien were married in Abilene June 18, 1960. GayNell worked for Southwestern Bell and attended Hardin-Simmons University. H.V. was a staff writer and later military editor of the Abilene Reporter News and also attended Hardin-Simmons.
In 1962, GayNell and H.V. were invited by the late Cisco Press owner J.W. Sitton, for whom he had worked as a Cisco Junior College student, to move to Eastland and manage the Eastland Telegram.
When they moved to Eastland County they purchased a historic home and joined First Baptist Church where they still live and are members.
In 1968 they bought the newspapers and eventually all five in the county, installed a modern printing plant, and moved into a new building which GayNell virtually designed on S. Seaman St. and later developed EASTLAND COUNTY TODAY newspaper now serving this wide area.
Children are Vance and Amy, both local and graduate school graduates. Amy, Tarleton and OSU, and is married to Jon Glenn. Amy is County Extension Agent in Eastland County. Vance is a graduate of Hardin-Simmons and University of Texas at San Antonio and has been a dedicated care-giver to his Mother.
Mrs. O’Brien’s beloved grandchildren are Levi, Luke, Laura Leigh, Leigha Noel; each of whom she cherished.
GayNell loved her home, gardening, traveling, helping with the newspaper business, family gatherings, and visiting her family and friends.
Survivors also include sister, Carolyn Clements of California, and brother Don Ratliff of Arkansas. Another sister Patsy died recently leaving her husband, Larry Strom of Tucson, Arizona and her brother Rayford Ratliff, former Moore County Judge, who also recently passed leaving his wife, Susie of Dumas,Tx.
Niece, Dena and husband Carey Dyer, of Lakeside Baptist Ministry in Granbury, Bill Harden, Director of HSU Cowboy Band of Abilene and Mandi Whittlessey of FBC Eastland Ministry will provide special music at the service.
Officiating are Pastor Kevin Burrow, First Baptist Church of Eastland, Eastland Police Chief/Pastor David Hullum of First Christian Church of Eastland, and Pastor Jerry Maston of River of Life Church of Eastland.
Memorials can be made to Eastland Memorial Hospital Emergency Services.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of GayNell (Ratliff) O'Brien, please visit our floral store.