Leo F. O’Donnell
September 27, 1937 – April 13, 2021
Preceded in death by his parents: Francis M. and Mary Clare O’Donnell; Sisters JoEllen Lafferty and Jeanne Baker; Brother-in-Law, Dan Baker. Survived by his wife, Judy; Sisters Mary Clare Sheridan, Colleen (Richard) Casavant; Cathleen O’Donnell; Brothers William (Patty); Joseph; and Patrick (Cathy) O’Donnell. Brother-in-law William Dreibelbis. Nieces, Nephews, Grand Nieces and Nephews, and Great-Grand Nieces and Nephews. Favorite Nurse Jennifer and all the staff at Via Christe; Serene Hospice Care.
VISITATION observing CDC guidelines: Monday, April 19th from 10am-11 am, with 11am MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL at Holy Cross Catholic Church, 4810 Woolworth Avenue. Interment: Calvary Cemetery. Memorials are suggested to Via Christe.
To view live broadcasts of the Mass and Graveside Service, please go to www.heafeyheafey.com and click the “View Live Cast” button on the home page.
PALL BEARERS: Vincent Sheridan, Sean Sheridan, Rick O’Donnell, James O’Donnell, Denise Stobbe, Julie O’Donnell Andersen, and Katie Loring.
HONORARY PALL BEARERS: Regina Otte, Carolynne Sheridan, Madonna Mogul, Debra James, Mark Durbin, Michael Casavant, Donna Casavant, Kelly Gudenrath, David O’Donnell, Ivan Baker, Charles Baker, Mary Lindsey, Rita Baker, Michaela O’Donnell Long, Jennifer Dreibelbis, and Doug Dreibelbis.
Leo was married to his wife Judy for 35 years. From the day the two met at Saint Peter’s Church, Leo loved Judy and was dedicated to her with all his heart. In fact, he was even more dedicated to Judy than he was the Huskers—which is really saying something.
Leo went to as many Husker football games as he possibly could. Whether with one of his brothers Bill, Joe, or Pat, or his brother-in-law Bill. In fact, Leo’s best friend and brother-in-law Dan Baker, had a skybox, in which Leo had a reserved seat for every single game. But it wasn’t just the Huskers that made Leo smile, he was an avid sports fan. Whether it was sitting in the front row of Creighton basketball games with his friend Subby Anzoldo, cheering on the Royals and Chiefs in recent championships, hitting his own hole-in-one on the golf course (three times!), Leo knew how to have fun and cheer on his favorite teams.
Leo also knew how to cheer on people. Especially his family. As the second child of nine born to Francis and Mary Clare O’Donnell, he cared deeply for each of his brothers and sisters and each of his nieces and nephews. Leo was the favorite uncle that teasingly encouraged children to “Go play in the street!” The same uncle who would always remember to call on their birthdays.
A man of faith, dedication, and routine, Leo grew up attending Sacred Heart School and then Saint Peter’s Parish. He worked for 37 years for Holy Cross School and another 10 at Elmwood Golf Course—perhaps all that golf practice is what led to those three holes-in-one! He carried a rosary around in his pocket and lit a candle every week for his wife and mother. He could often be spotted at one of his regular spots—Petrows, Leavenworth Café, Hy Vee, and Jimmy’s Eggs! Again, a man of faith, dedication, and routine.
Leo made friends easily. He didn’t judge people. He was gentle but also a practical joker. He was a man of ethics and character. Wherever he went, this is who he was. All of this made it so easy to be Leo’s friend. Over the last several years, many of these friendships took the shape of the caregivers and staff at Via Christe, where Leo made his home. He loved everyone there, especially his nurse Jennifer who cared for him so well.
We will miss Leo, but are grateful for the impact he’s made on each of our lives and are encouraged by his example of how to live a life rooted in dedication and love.