James M. O'Donnell, Jr.December 20, 2017
James Matthew O'Donnell, Jr., 64, quietly went with God the afternoon of December 20th in the presence of loved ones. The son of the late James and Eleanor (McMichael) O’Donnell, Sr., he grew up with his sister, Ann, in North Smithfield, graduating from North Smithfield High School in 1971. He met his truly adored wife, Gayle Ann (Schenderlein) O’Donnell, while both attending Dean Junior College in Franklin, MA. They married in 1974, and then spent a few years adventuring before settling down to raise three children on their colonial farmstead in the town he grew up in.
He was a sensitive, fun, father who never seemed to have a hard time looking at the world with a child’s eyes. Matt, Kevin, and Sarah were cherished, and he filled their youth with ski trips, camping, making up silly games, countless pets, and brought them up to be kind, free thinking, self reliant people of integrity. For about 20 years, Jim held a position in management at the fertilizer company created by his father, and, as somewhat of a freelance jack of many trades, he dedicated much time to writing, and is a published author. He appreciated nature, simple pleasures like hosting BBQs, taking walks with his dogs, and always enjoyed football, from playing as a young man to being a founder and president of the NS Football Parents Club, while his sons played, and was always an avid Patriots fan. He was a friend to many, many people who will remember him as a dependable, welcoming, humorous guy, and a giver of great advice, who would look out for the little guy.
Visitation will be held Thursday, December 28, 2017 beginning at 4 PM, with a service to follow at 6 PM in the Holt Funeral Home, 510 So. Main St., Woonsocket. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the North Smithfield High School Class of 1971 Scholarship Fund, c/o the RI Foundation, One Union Station, Providence, RI 02903, or online at www.rifoundation.org, or to an animal shelter of your choosing.