Kuiper Funeral Home


James A. O'Donnell

May 13, 1941January 5, 2021

James A. O'Donnell, age 79, of Wheatfield, IN passed away on Tuesday, January 5, 2021. James was born May 13, 1941 the infant son of Charles F. and Verna G. (Shelbourne) O'Donnell in East Chicago, IN.

He is survived by his wife of 10 years, Gloria (Baciu) O'Donnell; children; James (Denise) O'Donnell, Dana (Jim) Murr; grandchildren, James (Ali) O'Donnell, Jeremy (fiancé Gabby) O'Donnell, Jason O'Donnell, Cael Murr, Brannon Murr, Declan Murr; great-grandchildren, Nora O'Donnell, Sylvia O'Donnell; step children, Roseann (Brian) Dennis, Robert (Jamee) Rubino, Victor (Heather) Rubino; step grandchildren, Sydney Dennis, Dominic Dennis, Gabriella Rubino, Kaleigh Rubino, and Lyndsey Rubino.

He was preceded in death by his first wife of 46 years, Sylvia (Koitch) O'Donnell and his parents, Charles and Verna O'Donnell.

Jim was a 40 year veteran on the East Chicago Fire Department serving as the Assistant Chief and Chief Training Officer. At on time, he worked three jobs while attending college and ended up receiving his Associates Degree in Fire Science. His fellow colleagues share that he was always the first one in to the fire and the last one out. He lived life to the fullest and was not only adored, but admired by his family, friends and dear friends, Lenny and Pat Bailes. Jim and Gloria would spend a lot of time with Lenny and Pat by travelling to and from different places and making sure to always grab a bite to eat that included something chocolate. He enjoyed things like golfing, reading, listening to music, eating peanut M&M's, exercising, going to church, driving a lot, and watching sports on TV, especially the Chicago Cubs, Chicago Bears, and other televised programs. His family will remember him most because of his loyalty and level of care for everyone. He knew much about life by all the lessons he learned through many hardships and triumphs. He was dedicated to all of his grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and step-grandchildren's activities and was each of their biggest fan. Everyone loved Jim very much and he will be truly missed by those who were fortunate to hear him try to re-tell a joke and had a great sense of humor to know that he wasn't the best at it. A true dedicated family man fought very hard until the end and he is now resting with the Heavenly Father.

Funeral arrangements are entrusted to Kuiper Funeral Home. All services have been chosen to be private with a burial for James held with immediate family in attendance at Chapel Lawn Memorial Gardens Cemetery - 8178 Cline Avenue, Crown Point, Indiana 46307.

A celebration of Jim's life will take place at a later date. Please check back for updated service information at a later date.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the O'Donnell family.


  • *PRIVATE Family Service*


James A. O'Donnell

have a memory or condolence to add?

Mike Shelbourne

January 16, 2021

“Uncle” Jim will be missed - he was my dad’s cousin and one of my favorite relatives to hang out with as a kid growing up in Griffith. Jim always seemed to have a smile and was genuinely happy to see people and make them feel special. He was always more interested in you then he was talking about himself - although I’m sure he had plenty of great firefighter stories to tell! Regret that I didn’t see much of Jim and his family as I got older and moved to the East Coast, but have many fond memories. Sending our condolences to Gloria and the rest of the O’Donnell family.

Betty J Bell

January 15, 2021

Sending my condolences to Gloria and family.. Jim will be miss by all of us."Hey Jim do not tell any jokes up there😃" Much love. Gloria🌹

Percy an Gloria Hunt

January 15, 2021

Gloria and family our deepest sympathy and condolences for the loss of our deàr friend and class mate, we will miss him. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and yours.

Bonni Kovan Boilek

January 15, 2021

Gloria, I'm so sorry about Jimmy, you made such a great couple. I've know him since I was a little girl living in the Harbour. He would always come over with my cousin Tommy Smith. Such good times and memories. May he rest in peace. Love, Bonni

ken gordon

January 14, 2021

Jim has been a true friend of mine when I lived in the Harbor and especially with my sister Penny Machnic and family. I moved to Arizona and Jim came to visit on occasion and we would play golf. I remember an outing when Jim and I were ridding together late in the afternoon and it was getting dark and Jim said he couldn't see the ball and I said Jim you have your sun glasses on and we broke up in laughter . I cherish his friendship and the good times we shared together. RIP Jimmy....

Patricia Ryan

January 13, 2021

Uncle Jim was a kind and loving man who always had a smile on his face. We will miss him dearly.
Jeff, Patti, Clancy and Rory

Douglas Shelbourne

January 13, 2021

RIP Doug and Lorraine Shelbourne

Jeff & Myrna Horvath

January 13, 2021

Gloria & family
We are so sorry for your loss. Our thoughts & prayers are with you and your family.

Lynn Satmary

January 12, 2021

Jim was a wonderful person and neighbor. I always remember him going out for his daily run. When my father passed away I will never forget when he had a pizza delivered to our house. Jim and Sylvia were very special people. I am glad they were our neighbors for many years. I send my sympathies to Jim's wife Gloria, Dana and Jimmy. I wish I could send a pizza to you guys!
Lynn Satmary