John William O’Donnell – Commander, United States Navy

From a contemporary press report:

John William O'Donnell, 69, a Navy aviator who retired as a commander in 1975 after 29 years of military service, died of cancer August 20, 1998 at Inova Mount Vernon Hospital, Virginia.

During his military career, Commander O'Donnell flew combat missions during the Vietnam War, served aboard several aircraft carriers and commanded a tactical electronic warfare squadron.

His assignments included duty in Asia, Canada and the United States. He came to the Washington area 28 years ago.

On retiring from the Navy, he began a civilian career as a technical consultant with Delex Systems in Vienna. In 1990, he retired from that job.

He was born in Deer Lodge, Montana, and he graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1952. He studied aeronautical engineering at the Naval Postgraduate School, and he received a master's degree in international affairs from George Washington University. He lived in Alexandria.

He was an Eagle Scout adviser in the Fort Hunt area of Mount Vernon and a member of the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans and the Retired Officers Association.

Survivors include his wife, Magdalen V. O'Donnell of Alexandria; four children, Colleen O. Sommer of Batavia, Ill., Michael A. O'Donnell of Sudbury, Mass., Kevin J. O'Donnell of Lynnfield, Mass., and Navy Lt. Cmdr. Brian T. O'Donnell of Yokosuka, Japan; and four grandchildren.


On August 20, 1998, at Mount Vernon Hospital, husband of Magdalen O'Donnell; father of Colleen Rae O'Donnell Sommer, Michael Alan, Kevin John and Brian Thomas O'Donnell. Also survived by four grandchildren, Sarah and Sean Sommer, James and Julia O'Donnell. A funeral service, with full military honors, will be held on Wednesday, September 2 at 8:45 a.m. at Fort Myer Chapel. Interment Arlington National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to any of the following organizations: St. Labre Indian School, Ashland, MT 59004, the American Cancer Society or the American Heart Association.

Read our general and most popular articles

Leave a Comment