On Sunday, February 21, Lawrence “Larry” O’Donnell, loving husband, father, brother, uncle and friend, passed away at the age of 90. A storyteller and master of the corny joke, Larry regaled his family over the years with made-up songs and tales of his childhood in Norwalk, Ohio: Missing 13 free throws in a one-point loss to Milan, spitting across Main St., leading the Norwalk St. Paul football team in receiving yards with eight, the great pop-stealing caper… “Papa” also loved to draw and be silly with his grandchildren Maddie, Ian, Erin, Shane, Kathleen, Larry and Megan. His 38 nieces and nephews will attest that their Uncle Larry was always fun to be around.
A 55-year resident of Willoughby Hills, Larry could connect with anyone with the use of a sappy joke or by speaking Slovenian (which he was not) while campaigning for office, selling poppies for the Lion’s Club, or collecting funds for the Leukemia Society. Larry fully immersed himself in the Willoughby Hills community, serving as Treasurer and then Councilman. He coached baseball, served on the Recreation Commission, oversaw the fundraising and construction of the Veteran’s Memorial and volunteered at countless community events. Outside of his city, he put his efforts into his church, St. Felicitas, where his children: Larry (deceased), John (Patrice), Peggy (Gary) Osborne, and Mary Kay (Chris) O’Donnell attended school. He was a Cub Scout leader, a church lector, Bingo volunteer and became a first-time altar server at the age of 70.
Larry was a Korean War veteran, spending time on Okinawa and learning the Japanese language so he could teach his kids the proper name for a fork (forku). Before he shipped off for duty, he had a blind date with Rosie Magyar. The 15-year-old Rose didn’t care much for Larry, but once he got back stateside, a love affair commenced that would last over 50 years. Larry graduated from John Carroll University, could say goodnight in 20 languages, loved to work on home projects and yardwork, and never did admit to eating the 15 Oreos in one sitting. He was truly one-of-a-kind, a gentle soul with a twinkle in his eye. He will be truly missed.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in memory of Larry to W.H.I.S.P.E.R. program, which assists WH seniors who need help with lawn care, home repairs, meals, companionship, etc. Checks payable to The City of WH, Isolated Seniors Program, 35405 Chardon Rd., Willoughby Hills, OH 44094.
Mass of Christian Burial Thursday, February 25, 2021 at St. John of the Cross Catholic Church 140 Richmond Rd., Euclid at 11 AM. Social distancing and masks required. Mass will be Livestreamed. Burial following with Military Honors at All Souls Cemetery. Arrangements by THE DeJOHN-FLYNN-MYLOTT FUNERAL HOME OF WILLOUGHBY HILLS, 28890 CHARDON ROAD.
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