Obituary Listings

James Leonard O'Briant

April 24, 1938 August 4, 2018
James  Leonard  O'Briant
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Obituary for James Leonard O'Briant

BAHAMA: James Leonard O’Briant, 80, went to Heaven Saturday, August 4, 2018 at his home in Bahama, NC. He was born in Durham on April 24, 1938 to the late James “Jimmy” L. O’Briant and Nellie Bullock O’Briant.

He attended Hillandale Elementary School, Braggtown High School was in the first graduating class from Northern High School in 1956. He then attended NC State University before transferring to Gaston Technical Institute where he graduated in 1958 with an Associate in Applied Science and Electronics Technology.

Leonard joined the Army National Guard in 1956 and was honorably discharged in May 1961. After graduating from college, he started O’Briant Masonry Company. He laid brick and stone for years. Some of his stone work can be seen in the Bahama Ruritan Club where he built the beautiful fireplace that was made with petrified wood and accented with two large mill stones. He and his men built the Ruritan Club laying all of the cement blocks in the building. He was a long term member of the Bahama Ruritan Club, serving as President several times.

In his later years, he changed his occupation to driving heavy equipment and began putting in septic tanks and burying anything that people needed like horses and livestock. This business was under the name of JL O’Briant Construction Company.

His biggest dream as a young boy was to have a farm and to be a part time farmer. In 1964, his dream came true when he and his wife bought a farm in Bahama, NC and they have resided there ever since. They raised their four children, Jim, Dan, Tod and Melinda.

Upon starting his second career as a farmer he was soon awarded a scholarship to a two week course on modern farming at NC State in Raleigh. His first crop was soybeans and a side of 12,000 chickens. He filled his life with hard work, giving of himself to anyone who needed anything. He was the “go to” man for everyone who had a problem. There was nothing he could not fix or figure out.

Leonard is survived by his wife, Kay Frances O’Briant; sons, Jim O’Briant (Wanda), Dan O’Briant (Eresha), Tod O’Briant (Akemi); daughter, Melinda Leimone (Ken); grandchildren, Josh O’Briant, Darian O’Briant, Andrew “AJ” Leimone, Cole Leimone, Elizabeth Charles (Derwin), Michael Rice; sister, Ernestine O’Briant Clever; brother, Wallace O’Briant (Margaret); and many loving nieces and nephews.

In addition to his parents, he was also predeceased by his sister, Claribel Sykes; grandson, Brantley Scott Pearce; step-father, TC Leary; and brother-in-law, Dr. H.D. Cleaver.

He was a member of Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church where the funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, August 9th with Rev. Mark Muckler and Dr. Robert Simpson officiating. Following the interment in the church cemetery, everyone is invited to a Celebration of Life at the Runnymede Plantation, at the home of David and Gail Lyle, 3614 Red Mountain Rd., Rougemont, NC. Here everyone can meet the family, enjoy good food and exchange memories of Leonard.

Sincere thanks to Dr. Robert Pennington and his staff, David Upchurch and his staff, and to the loving caregivers that were generous, loyal and faithful with their time and care thought Leonard’s long journey with Alzheimers.

Flowers are acceptable or donations can be made in Leonard’s memory to Mt. Bethel UMC: PO Box 25, Bahama, NC 27503 or to St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital, PO Box 50, Memphis, TN 38101-9929.

The family is being assisted by Clements Funeral and Cremation Services, Inc. in Durham. Online condolences may be sent to

To send flowers or a remembrance gift to the family of James Leonard O'Briant, please visit our Tribute Store.

Previous Events

Funeral Service




11:00 AM 8/9/2018 11:00:00 AM
Mt Bethel United Methodist Church

1605 Bahama Rd
Bahama, NC 27503

Mt Bethel United Methodist Church
1605 Bahama Rd Bahama 27503 NC
United States

Celebration of Life




12:30 PM 8/9/2018 12:30:00 PM
Runny Mead Plantation

3614 Red Mountain Rd.
Rougemont, NC 27572

Runny Mead Plantation
3614 Red Mountain Rd. Rougemont 27572 NC
United States

Cemetery Details


Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church Cemetery Final Resting Place

1605 Bahama Road
Bahama, NC 27503

1605 Bahama Road Bahama 27503 NC

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