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Steven E. O'Brien, businessman, athlete and coach Sept. 14, 1962 -- Feb. 9, 2009

Steven E. O'Brien of East Amherst, owner of several area businesses, died Monday in Beechwood Nursing Facility, Getzville. He was 46.

Born in Flushing, Queens, he moved with his family to Watkins Glen as a child. There, he participated in high school sports, including baseball and football. He played college football at Brockport State College.

He moved to Buffalo in 1988.

In the late 1980s, Mr. O'Brien became a part owner of the Meineke Discount Mufflers shop on Harlem Road in Amherst, which he helped operate until the early 1990s. He later owned four Curves for Women fitness facilities -- in Williamsville, Batavia and two outlets in the Rochester area. In 2006, he sold the businesses and created a new fitness facility called FitLife.

Mr. O'Brien, however, was stricken with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as Lou Gehrig's disease, before he could get the business off the ground.

A body builder, Mr. O'Brien was a sports enthusiast and had season tickets to Buffalo Bills and Sabres games. He was an assistant coach of Williamsville Junior Football and a coach for Lou Gehrig Youth Baseball and Softball.

Mr. O'Brien also was a supporter of Williamsville men's gymnastics, community theater and Williamsville North High School theater productions.

He is survived by his wife of 20 years, the former Susan Cohen; two sons, Brandon and Taylor; his parents, James P. and Rose-Ann; three brothers, James, William and Francis; and two sisters, Debra Teeter and Jane Olafson.

A memorial service will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in Unitarian Universalist Church of Amherst, 6320 Main St.

[MCNEIL]

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