Barbara J. O’Daniel
May 12, 1944 – March 31, 2023
Preceded in death by husband, Michael F. O’Daniel Sr., and Jeff T. Mollner. Survived by children: Michael F. O’Daniel Jr. (Amy), Helen Reese (Sean), Matthew B. O’Daniel (Stacy), Aloise E. “Loycee” O’Daniel; 8 grandchildren; sister, Sue Niles.
VISITATION: Monday, April 10th, 5pm, with 7pm VIGIL SERVICE at West Center Chapel.
MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL: Tuesday, April 11th, 10:30 am, St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church. Interment: Mt.Calvary Cemetery, Elkhorn.
In lieu of flowers, memorials to the American Cancer Society.
To view a live broadcast of the Mass, please visit www.heafeyheafey.com and click the “View Live Cast” button at the top of the home page.
Barbara Jean O’Daniel, born in Omaha, NE, to Robert and Betty Heimrod, was the oldest of four children. Siblings included Pattie, Susan, and Fred. Barb spent her childhood years in Omaha, attending and graduating from Westside high school in 1963. As a child, Barb spent many summers at her grandfather’s property near Elk City, which was affectionately referred to as “The Farm.” There she enjoyed the outdoors and was active in Girl Scouts. Barbara attended the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas. She was a sorority member of Chi Omega and earned her degree in childhood education.
Barb met her husband, Michael, while the two were attending an Aksarben ball event, and they married in 1966 after a short courtship. During this time, the two enjoyed the Kansas City area and social scene, spending much time at the Plaza and Westport areas. They were married for 54 years when Mike passed away in March of 2020. Barb and Mike were blessed with four children: Mike Jr., Helen, Matthew, and Aloise (Loycee), who kept them very busy along the way.
Barb was a person that loved people and had many close friends along her journey. Many of her close friends came from her time living in the Skyline Ranches in Elkhorn, NE. She and Mike raised their family there and enjoyed horses, boating, traveling, and entertaining her fellow Skyliners. Often a group of them would gather on the back patio to listen to country music, laugh endlessly, and watch in awe as the midwestern storms rolled in, and sometimes the sun would rise on them.
While living in Skyline, Barb developed a love for dogs. She had many “5th Children” along the way, including: Bigfoot, Blackfoot, Grizz, Jake, Kali, and most recently, Buddy, who never left her side up until her last breath. They moved out of Skyline in 1985 to “The Farm” property near Elk City, where they worked together to build their dream home where they finished raising their children.
Barb and Mike enjoyed traveling to many great places for dealership business. Many of these trips were out of the country, and they always took time to stay a little extra for the two of them. They also had a special love of Lake of the Ozarks. Mike and Barb vacationed there before having children and took several houseboat trips with friends and family as the kids grew up.
Upon Mike’s retirement in 2000, they purchased a house in the Ozarks and became part-time residents. Barb was most at peace there on the deck, drinking her morning coffee and reading a book. She and Mike enjoyed boating, cooking, restaurants, shopping, and all the things the lake had to offer. Hosting her family either at home in Omaha or at the lake house brought Mom joy as she was so proud of the family that she and Mike shared.
Barb enjoyed a strong faith in God, and she and Mike were longtime parishioners of both St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Elkhorn and St. Vincent De Paul in Omaha. Also, throughout her treatment, she found comfort in attending daily Mass at the Catholic Church in Boys Town. Bridge was Barb’s passion later in life. She was a fierce player and was very proud of her accomplishments. She recently earned her “life master” achievement, and if you wanted to get Barb’s ire up, tell her that she had to miss a bridge game. We all knew that look on her face!
Barb’s unconditional love for her four children, eight grandchildren, and one great-grandchild will be her true defining characteristic. She enjoyed encouraging all of us in our pursuits and spent many hours in the stands at horse shows, rodeos, soccer fields, basketball and volleyball games, etc. She was never too busy to answer a phone call from her children, needing help or advice, unless, of course, she was playing bridge! Then you might have to wait an hour, but you were then first on the list!
As she realized she was failing, her only request for us was that we all love one another, and when things get tough, we turn to God for help. We will, Mom, we promise! We know that she would offer that advice to all of her friends and family as well. May all of her family and friends find peace in knowing that she had a fulfilled life with many blessings and a strong faith that she is now reunited with her husband, Mike… and many previous dogs!