Rowyn Edward O’Brien, age 15, of Elgin, IL, passed away on September 27, 2021. He was born October 11, 2005 in Elgin, IL to his loving parents, Frank and Seon Yeup O’Brien.

Rowyn had started attending the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA) in late August of 2021 as a proud sophomore. He had matriculated from District 301 Central High School after having maintained a solid 4.0 grade point average and having successfully co-led the Scholastic Bowl team. He was already on his way at IMSA with straight A’s as well.

Despite having only been gifted to us for a short time, Rowyn managed to pack a great deal into his life. He loved nature, and loved trips into the mountains taken as a family (Black Hills, Smokey Mountains, Glacier National Park, Lookout Mountain). He said he felt “free to be so high up and to see so far.”

Music was Rowyn’s passion. He had started playing piano at the age of 4, and his love of music in all its forms blossomed from there. These included active participation in band/jazz band (percussion, oboe, piano) and choir (baritone, bass). He won multiple awards and accolades in various events, including active participation in the Illinois Music Education Association (ILMEA). He was very active in musical composition and had won state awards for his piano solo and ensemble pieces. (Rowyn had been active on SoundCloud for over the last year, posting some of his remixes and scores.) Everything for Rowyn had a rhythm he wanted to explore.

He can rest now in the memory of his loving family. Rowyn is survived by his parents, Frank and Seon Yeup O’Brien, and his younger sister, Isolde O’Brien.

The family will be holding a private ceremony that will respect Rowyn’s final wishes. Mourners are encouraged to recall Rowyn as he was – a loving, kind, effervescent young man who would want nothing more than others to remember him with a smile and a laugh.

Final arrangements entrusted to Symonds-Madison Funeral Home. For more information, call 847-741-1128 or visit

14 Replies to “Rowyn Edward O’Brien”

  1. Katie and I do not have words to express our sorrow or words that might help you in this difficult time. Although I met Rowyn only once but it feels like I knew him so well. I will miss him playing the Piano while we are in the meetings and his smart comments that you shared with us. He was a smart kid and had a great sense of humor that I enjoyed a lot. He will live in our memories for a long time. May Allah bless you, Seon Yeup and Isolade with the strength to bear this loss and put your heart, mind and soul at peace. Rowyn … you will be missed.

  2. Rowyn was always such a joy. So smart and inquisitive, full of life, and it was always so fun to hear what he’d been getting into. And a sweet and loving older brother to Isolde. We’ll love and remember him forever.

  3. Rowyn was always so kind and smiling when we had the privilege of running across him. We hope your memories of Rowyn will soon fill your hearts with joy once again.
    The Yarwood Family

  4. We have had the pleasure of watching Rowyn grow into an incredible young man over the last 10 years. We enjoyed being able to hear him masterfully play the piano from next door-a true talent! Our son would listen near the window to hear him often. Every encounter with Rowyn started with a sweet smile and a wave (even when out shoveling heavy snow!) and was always incredibly polite. He was wise beyond his years and a sweet soul. Rowyn you will be forever missed. Our deepest condolences to the family. The McNerney Family

  5. What a beautiful testament to an amazingly talented young man! I feel truly honored to have known Rowyn and appreciate his never-ending talents. Those of us who knew him were never surprised by his achievements; he set tremendous goals for himself using his talents and always seemed to be wise beyond his years. In the difficult days ahead, know that I am praying for you all and keeping you in my thoughts. I have now doubt he knew how much he was loved by his parents and sister every day of his life. May the memories you hold in your hearts ease the pain of losing someone so wonderful and special.

  6. May Rowyn rest in peace. My son also attends IMSA and was in same 1505 quad building as Rowyn. It seems several younger and healthy people in my circle of colleagues have passed away in recent months and I’m still trying to understand why. Our deepest sympathy. Brian and Katy

  7. i miss you, angel.

    – your kumiho

  8. rowyn was such an amazing musician. i knew if for over 5 years but never really got the chance to know him know him, but everyday he brought smiles to my face. he was such a goofy and lovable person. i cannot put it into words about how unreal this is. keeping you, the family, in my prayers. may rowyn rest in paradise, melina maestas

  9. Rowyn was such a gifted and amazing student to have in my choir at CMS. He was so talented and yet so humble. I am so sorry for your loss for you and your family.

  10. i was so shocked when i heard about what happened, Rowyn was such a fun person and always had such a bright personality. He was one of the reasons i looked forward to class. Everyone misses him so much. Fly High.

  11. My heart aches to hear this news. Rowyn was a very gifted and amazing student who loved learning. He was always so respectful, kind, happy, silly, and thoughtful. I feel so blessed to have known Rowyn, he will be deeply missed. My thoughts and prayers are with his family in your time of grief.

  12. Rowyn was like a brother to me. It’s been almost 2 months since I have last talked to him, but I enjoyed every call and conversation we had. I miss and cherish every memory we made together. He always made my day and has been a close friend since around 5th grade. I still remember all the inside jokes we made from around there. Rowyn has been one of my closest friends and I still grieve over him every day. He was always there for me when I was at my lowest and taught me how to be a better me. Every now and then I find something cool and try to send it to him, but then only remember he can’t enjoy it as he used to. He was such a talented kid. I loved it whenever he showed us how well he can sing or jam out on the piano. Not to mention all the songs he made digitally. I still remember when he sent me his music and streamed osu on late night calls. Those were some of the best nights. Rowyn, you were an amazing kid. You always brightened my day with your laugh and amazing personality. We’ll never forget you, Valk. Fly high buddy

  13. I’m thinking of your family during this holiday time.

  14. i miss you, i’ll see you in a couple decades. 🙂

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