Barbara Ann McDonnell

December 26, 1941July 17, 2018

Mrs. McDonnell 76 died peacefully in her sleep on July 17 in the Absolut Care Center at Aurora Park Health Care facility in the Village of East Aurora after a lengthy illness. The former Barbara Staby was born the day after Christmas, December 26, 1941 and was a native of Eden, NY. She graduated from high school at the long-shuttered St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Seminary on Linwood Avenue in the City of Buffalo in 1960. Four years later she went on to complete her undergraduate work at Miami of Ohio in Oxford, Ohio, advancing there to earn her Master’s degree from S.U.N.Y. -- Buffalo in its School of Education curriculum in 1990. In addition to being the quintessential homemaker to her four children, Mrs. McDonnell taught elementary grade school at Our Lady of Czestochowa School on Clinton Street in Buffalo, St. Bonaventure Elementary school in West Seneca, and at the Bradenton Academy in Fla. Early in her marriage to Thomas Q. McDonnell, who survives her, Mrs. McDonnell traveled extensively with her husband to various locations as he served as a special agent with the FBI. His duties with the Bureau began in 1970 when the late J. Edgar Hoover was still in charge of the federal agency, resulting in the family’s relocation to such far-flung locations as Biloxi, Miss: Springfield, Illinois: Cincinnati, Ohio and to the state of Hawaii -- all before coming home to the Buffalo FBI office where he retired in 1993. Hoover was legendary for moving his agents all over the country and world, never allowing them to get too complacent or to grow too comfortable by being stationed in one place for too long a period of time. After her husband’s retirement from the Buffalo FBI office, Mrs. McDonnell moved with her growing family down to Anna Maria Island off the gulf coast of Florida where she lived for 12 years before moving back to East Aurora, where she resided for the remainder of her life. One of her favorite destinations, though, was the Muskoka region of Ontario, Canada, especially to Little lake Joseph, where her husband’s family enjoyed a summer home for decades. “She always liked to travel up to Muskoka in the sultry summertime weather with her family,” said her son Edward “Ned” McDonnell of his mother’s exploits. “There, she kept a tidy cottage for family and friends to share the good times with while vacationing at the summer home, and thoroughly enjoyed her years in Muskoka.” Added her son, “The word ‘Muskoka’ still brought a smile to her face, even as she was in declining health and in quite a bit of pain in the last couple of years.” She also volunteered her spare time with her late mother-in-law, Faith B. McDonnell, delivering Meals-on-Wheels to the elderly and homebound; and served a lengthy stint as a volunteer for with the LIbrary of Congress reading program, reading to the blind and elderly as part of its renowned service. Her sister-in-law, Mary McDonnell Ordal, particularly remembers the early years at St Mary’s Seminary, where they both graduated in 1960. “Barb graduated from St. Mary’s as the valedictorian of her class,” Ordal said. “I often remember her driving her Volkswagen convertible all around town jamming as many people in the little bug she possibly could. And, as an aside, I thought that Barb was the best dresser on campus,” she chided. In private life, Mrs. McDonnell was fondest of her two pet canines, Ruby and Shana. She often could be seen taking the two dogs on long neighborhood walks near her homes in East Aurora and on Anna Maria Island. “She loved those two dogs as much as she probably did us,” Ned McDonnell joked. Mrs. McDonnell was born to the late Carl and Margaret Staby, and was predeceased by one brother, Richard “Dick” Staby, all formerly of Eden, NY. In addition to her husband and son “Ned” (Sarah), she is survived by three other children: Thomas, Jr. of Charlotte, NC: and Gregory (Robby) and Julia of Anna Maria Island, Fla, six grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. A memorial service will take place at Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church on Oakwood Avenue in the Village of East Aurora on August 25 at 11AM, where she was a devout Catholic and from where her four children all graduated. Please assemble at the Church. Flowers are gratefully declined, but online condolences may be made in Mrs. McDonnell’s memory to


Barbara Ann McDonnell

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John Baker

August 23, 2018

My sincere condolences to the entire McDonnell family. I have great memories of hanging out on The Meadow talking with Mrs. McDonnell especially in summer, in fact my teenage years would have been less fulfilling without her welcoming me into their home. May you Rest In Peace.
John Baker

Joan Staby

July 24, 2018

So sorry to hear of Barb’s passing. I will always remember all the fun times we had together on Anna Maria.

Rick Cole

July 22, 2018

Very saddened by Mrs. McDonnells passing. Prayers and condolences to my good friends. Everyone always felt welcomed and at ease when visiting the Mcdonnell household. All the best wishes for your loss. The Cole family.