Mary Alice O'Donnell

September 18, 1921January 16, 2021

Mary Alice (Gearns) O’Donnell, 99, of Indianapolis passed away January 16, 2021 at Franciscan Hospice House after living 8 years at St Paul Hermitage. Mary Alice was born in Indianapolis September 18, 1921 to her parents, the late Jim and Mary (Kennedy) Gearns. She was predeceased by brothers Charles, William and Robert and sister Elizabeth “Betty”. She was also predeceased by her husband James “Jimmy” O’Donnell, the sole resident survivor of the USS Indianapolis and retired Indianapolis Firefighter. Jimmy and Mary Alice had just celebrated their 70th Wedding Anniversary prior to his death.

Mary Alice is survived by her sons James (Cindy), Thomas (JoAnn), Timothy (Suzy-deceased), and her daughter Mary Theresa Snyder (Terry); 11 Grandchildren, Kathleen (David) Ray, Colleen (Marc) Moran, James (Michelle) O’Donnell, Kelly (Andrew) Gary, Thomas (Carly Buchwald) O’Donnell, Sean (Meena Walker) O’Donnell, Shannon O’Donnell, Haley (Clayton) Garard, Connor (Nicole) Hofmeister, Kevin Hofmeister, and Kyle Hofmeister; 13 Great Grandchildren, Aidan, Keegan, Brady, Levi, Ava, Everly, James, Kennedy, Jocelyn, Makayla, Zoe, Scarlett, and Molly.

Mary Alice graduated from Holy Cross grade school in 1935 and St. Mary’s Academy in 1939. Jimmy and Mary Alice were married New Year’s Eve 1942. Mary Alice’s Catholic faith was extremely important to her, from her childhood at Holy Cross, raising her family at Our Lady of Lourdes and in retirement at Holy Spirit. After her husband passed away she moved to St Paul Hermitage where she lived for 8 years and attended chapel prayer services or mass daily. She said the rosary daily. Mary Alice, a homemaker, also worked many part -time jobs to make ends meet. She was a devoted wife, wonderful mother, grandmother, great grandmother, sister, aunt, neighbor and friend. She attended sporting events and activities for the many children in her family over the years. Mary Alice enjoyed bowling, golfing, bingo, horse racing and going to the casino. She always enjoyed a good cold beer. She was active with the USS Indianapolis Survivors organization, the Ave Maria Guild, and the Ladies Ancient Order of the Hibernian’s. Mary Alice made friends wherever she went. She was fun-loving and giving and never knew a stranger. She was extremely proud of her family. She spoke often of their many talents and of the pleasure they brought her.

Mary Alice will be dearly missed! The family would like to thank all the caregivers at St Paul Hermitage, Franciscan Hospice House, and Dr. Sheila Gamache for their love, care and compassion. Due to Covid Restrictions there will not be a service at this time. A Celebration of Life will be held for Mary Alice later this year.

Condolences may be sent care of Feeney-Hornak Shadeland Mortuary at 1307 Shadeland Ave, Indianapolis IN 46219.

In lieu of flowers Memorial Contributions may be sent to St Paul Hermitage or the USS Indianapolis Survivors Organization. or


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Mary Alice O'Donnell

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JoAnn Lichtenberg

January 25, 2021

Enjoyed teeing them up with Mary Alice when she golfed with The Club Specials...always a cheerful disposition and fun to be with...she will surely be missed...may she rest in peace...JoAnn Lichtenberg

Bob and Judy Field

January 25, 2021

Judy and I wish to extend our sympathy to Mary's family. We used to bowl with Jim and Mary in a mixed league on the Eastside. Mary was the nicest lady , we had a really good time with them both.
I knew Jim from the job and consequently did some work for them
on my off day job.
Loved them both, God Bless them, may they rest in peace.

Mark Tarpey

January 24, 2021

Mary had a personality that we all wish for. Always positive and full of resolve to deal with whatever life brought her way. One always came away feeling better after seeing and speaking with her.

James Bewsey

January 24, 2021

Jim, Tom, Tim, and Mary,

Your Mom was a special lady. She is enjoying her eternal reward now.

Jim Bewsey

Maria Eck Bullard

January 21, 2021

As the daughter of USS Indianapolis Survivor Harold Eck of Nee Orleans, I send my sincerest condolences for sweet Mrs O’Donnell. Throughout the years, she has held a special place in our family’s heart and memories, as we visited Indianapolis for reunions. She & Jimmy were the ultimate ambassadors of the beautiful & patriotic city. I was always so touched by her gentle demeanor and pride of the USS Indianapolis story and her sailor.
May the family find comfort in your fond memories, and pride in knowing the beautiful legacy of Mary & Jimmy live on within you!
Maria Eck Bullard
Daughter of USS Indianapolis Survivor Harold Eck
USS Indianapolis Second Watch

John W. Duncan

January 19, 2021

Mary O'Donnell was such a sweet and dear lady. She was everyones mom! Her pleasant disposition and warm smile was her 'Calling Card.' Her calm demeanor made every memory shared, and conversation so very special! These will never be forgotten. She loved life, her God, her Jimmy, her children and the all of the USS Indianapolis survivors, and the last at sea families. She always had a sparkle in her eyes, even during times when clouds entered her life. In her troubled times, she always had God's sunshine shing through her life - such an inspiration was she! We will all miss our special friend. We all can smile when we think about the reunion she and her Jimmy will share in God's Heaven enjoying their eternal lives together! God's Speed!
John W. Duncan