Rabbit William Donnelly (1927 - 2011)

1 entry
  • "Mrs. Donnelly & Family, I will always remember Mr. Donnelly..."
    - Marilyn Gray Timmons
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INDEPENDENCE - Rabbit William Donnelly, 84, of Independence, died July 4.
He was born April 9, 1927, in Independence, the son of A. Bernard and Josie (McGrath) Donnelly. He graduated from St. John's High School in Independence in 1945. He served in the U.S. Navy during WW II in the Pacific Theater. On Aug. 18, 1956, he and the former Helen M. Dennie were married at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Cedar Rapids.
Mr. Donnelly worked for the U.S. Postal Service for 28 years before retiring in 1987. He also operated a tavern in Lamont for three years. Mr. Donnelly was a life long member of St. John's Catholic Church in Independence, The St. John's Corps 1314 Catholic Order of Foresters, Knights of Columbus Council 4332, Bechter-Boies Post 2440 V.F.W., Three Elms Golf Club and the Shyster's Group.
Rabbit was known for his volunteer work and was recognized with the Governor's Award for Volunteerism twice and the Independence Mayor's Award twice. He was a Hospice volunteer (Cedar Valley Hospice) and was named Hospice Person of the Year in 1993. Rabbit was awarded the Legion of Honor Award from the C.O.F. He was inducted into the Independence Area Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame in 2010. He was chairman of the Board of Review at West Village Care Center and delivered meals on wheels for several years.
Rabbit was loyal to his faith, his family, his community, his golf games, unwinding at 4 p.m., and his Chicago Cubs. He will be remembered for his quick wit, his warm heart and his Irish heritage.
Rabbit is survived by his wife, Helen, two daughters, Diane (Dan) Sperfslage of Aurora, and Carol (Randy) LeRoy of Gretna, Neb., one son, Roger Donnelly of Decorah, three grandchildren, Kelli (John) Bergin, Shawn Sperfslage, and Patrick Sperfslage, and three brothers, John Donnelly, Leo Donnelly, and Jim Donnelly.
He was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers, Ray Donnelly and Leonard Donnelly.
A Mass of Christian Burial was held Friday, July 8, at St. John's Catholic Church in Independence. Burial was at the church cemetery.
Published in Independence Bulletin-Journal from July 6 to Aug. 6, 2011
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