CAROLEE O'BRIEN Independence Carolee O'Brien, 81, of Independence, Iowa, died on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, at Buchanan County Health Center in Independence, Iowa. Carolee was born on Jan. 1, 1939, in Peoria, Ill., the daughter of Reece E. and Lillian G. (Wyckoff) Burge. She graduated from North Chicago High School in North Chicago, Ill., In 1957. She met Claude Lee O'Brien in 1959 and they were married, Nov. 20, 1965, in Waukegan, Ill. The couple moved to Puerto Rico for 10 years where she worked for the USO as a counter girl, and later as the director of the USO at the Roosevelt Roads Naval Station in Puerto Rico from 1976 to January 1989. They traveled back and forth across the United States with Claude's job. They moved back to Independence in February 1989. Carolee co-chaired the "Operation Keep in Touch" group that sent packages to our service personnel during the Gulf War in 1991 to 1992. She did volunteer work for the Buchanan County Tourism Bureau, American Legion Auxiliary, Relay for Life, Cedar Valley Hospice, Habitat for Humanity, Buchanan County Historical Society and the Independence Area Chamber of Commerce. She was awarded the Leadership and Citizen of the Year awards and Leader of the New Millennium from Economic Development in 2000. In 2001 Carolee moved to Oak View and donated her home to Buchanan County Habitat for Humanity. She was preceded in death by her parents; and husband, Claude, on Sept. 15, 2000. She is survived by her stepson, Kevin and Joan O'Brien of Hazlet, N.J.; two grandchildren, Andrew and Jennifer O'Brien; and her very best friend, Judy Lauer. A private burial will be held. Reiff Family Center is assisting the family with arrangements. To leave an online condolence, please go to www.reifffamilycenter.com under obituaries.