OBITUARY

John William O'Donnell

February 11, 1938February 6, 2019
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John William O'Donnell passed away on February 6, 2019, in Los Angeles, Calif., at the age of 80. He was born in New Haven, Conn., on February 11, 1938. John is survived by his loving wife, Martha (nee Morris); his daughter, Karen, and her husband, Mark Stein; his son. Nicholas. and his wife, Brenda Rose; and grandchildren Madeleine, Nathan, Cale, and Ellis. He was predeceased by his sister, Anne O’Donnell, and his parents, Madeleine and Charles O’Donnell.

John grew up in New England and graduated from Manhasset High School in New York. He attended Yale University for two years and later completed his bachelor’s degree at Long Beach State University in 1966. He went on to earn his Juris Doctor from UCLA Law School in 1970. After passing the bar, he worked in South El Monte City Hall as Assistant City Attorney and then went into practice with with partner Paul Gray. He later established his own law office in South El Monte. He was a longtime member of the local Rotary Club chapter and served on the South El Monte business council.

John served in the U.S. Army in the early 1960s and was stationed in Schweinfurt, Germany, where he met his future wife, Martha, who was working for the Army as a civilian. They married in 1965 and made Los Angeles their home. He lived in the city for the rest of his life.

He loved reading, music, cooking, travel, and Los Angeles architecture and history, and served as a poll volunteer for many local and federal elections. Always ready with an opinion about current events, politics, and local history, he wrote many letters to the editor of the Los Angeles Times, several of which were published.

Travel was a lifelong passion for John. After finishing his tour in the U.S. Army, he went on a year-long tour of Europe, visiting as many countries as he could, including Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Switzerland, Syria, Israel, and Jordan. He returned to Europe with his wife and three-year-old daughter in 1970 for another months-long adventure, traveling in their Volkswagen camper van with an itinerary that included England, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Greece, Romania, Yugoslavia, and more.

An avid reader, John consumed mystery, law, and crime novels by a wide range of authors, including John Mortimer, Michael Connelly, Cornelius Ryan, and many others. He was fascinated by history, with a particular interest in World War II, California history, and many other topics.

A funeral mass will be held Saturday, February 23 at 11am at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Community, 10750 Ohio Avenue, Los Angeles, Calif.

A visitation was held on Friday, February 22, 12 noon to 2pm, with a blessing at 1pm, at Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park and Mortuary, 1218 Glendon Ave, Los Angeles, Calif.

Services

  • Visitation Friday, February 22, 2019
  • Funeral Service Saturday, February 23, 2019
REMEMBERING

John William O'Donnell

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Gwen Marinozzi

February 18, 2019

Our family goes way back to the days we lived in Los Angeles in the early 70’s. My sister and I spent many afternoons playing at the O’Donnell’s house. One of my most cherished memories is sitting in their backyard one hot evening hand churning ice cream. There was something so sweet and simple about that time. John was always kind and good humored and I will always remember that smile!
Rest in Peace
Gwen

Craig Claiborne

February 16, 2019

There's too many...I just remember growing up with Nick and how John was always present when we'd come home from school. He always seemed to have a witty intelligent comment about whatever we were going on about. Riding with him in his car listening to The Beatles, Blues Brothers, pretty much whatever came on the radio...he was hip to it. The last time I got to spend time with him, even though I was in tears...he still managed to make me laugh..through everything. I'm grateful I got to tell him everything I wanted to say in case I didn't have the chance later. I've never met or been blessed to know such a brave man. I'm deeply heartbroken, he was and will always be an important father figure in my life. Completely at peace, and fearless to the end. God Bless you John...I love you...and Thank you.

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