Cover photo for John Charles O'Donnell's Obituary
John Charles O'Donnell Profile Photo

John Charles O'Donnell

July 23, 1950 — July 20, 2023

Battle Creek,

John Charles O'Donnell

John Charles O’Donnell, 72, of Battle Creek, Mich., passed away surrounded by family on July 20, 2023, after a short but fierce battle with Lewy Body Dementia. John was born on July 23, 1950, in Battle Creek, Mich., to Betty Jewell (Boone) and James Ambrose O’Donnell.

John graduated from St. Philip High School in 1968 and Western Michigan University in 1973. With his degree in Special Education and Elementary Education, John created and maintained a classroom in Harper Creek Community Schools for the county’s emotionally impaired children for 17 years, and then taught 6th grade at Sonoma Elementary for 14 years, retiring in 2004. After retiring from teaching, John enjoyed being a greens keeper for 10 years at Riverside Golf Course.

John married Mary Bria (Nolan) O’Donnell, his high school sweetheart, on August 21, 1971, and built a life together that included many adventures and joys they shared with family and friends. Some of those were creating Sun Creek Community Farm in East Leroy; building homes; farming; backpacking in sections of the Appalachian Trail; and helping anyone who needed a hand-up. John was a die-hard supporter of the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame and remained loyal to them always! By far, his greatest pride and joy will always be his children, Trevor James and Catherine Siobhan (Katie). Family was of the utmost importance to John.

John is survived by his wife Mary; his children, Trevor James O’Donnell, Katie O’Donnell (Kevin Smith), unborn baby girl Smith, all of Battle Creek; brothers Daniel O’Donnell (Battle Creek), W. Kevin O’Donnell (Summit Hill, PA.); sisters Siobhan (Bill) O’Gurek (Summit Hill, PA.) and Therese O’Donnell (Lehighton, PA.); and many nephews, nieces, in-laws, and countless friends and memories. John was preceded in death by his parents, Jim and Betty; brothers, James and Joseph; and infant sister, Kathleen.

Rest in peace, OD, Go Irish!

The family requests that any memorial contributions be made to the charity of your choice in John’s name.

A celebration of John’s life will be held 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. Thursday, August 10, 2023, at Riverside Golf and Banquet Center, 245 E. Columbia Avenue, Battle Creek, MI 49015.

Personal messages for the family or stories about John may be placed here at Arrangements are by Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Cremation Preneed Care.


Past Services

Celebration of Life

Thursday, August 10, 2023

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

Riverside Golf Club and Banquet Center

245 E Columbia Ave, Battle Creek, MI 49015

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