Patrick Vincent O'Donnell passed away on Jan. 28, 2011, after a two-year battle with brain cancer.
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P.V., as he was known to his family and friends, was married for 20 years to his beloved wife, Marian. P.V. was born in the town of Buncrana in County Donegal, Ireland, and moved first to Canada in 1977, and then to the United States in 1987. He was a longtime resident of Manchester, Connecticut. Widely known as "The Donegal Fiddler," and locally as "the man with a thousand friends," P.V. began playing the fiddle at age four, and over the years he learned from and befriended some of the greatest Irish fiddlers. During his long and successful career as an Irish fiddler, he first toured America at age 12 with The Little Gaelic Singers, and hit his musical stride when he formed Barley Bree, a traditional group popular in Ireland that eventually hosted a successful weekly TV series in Canada. While living in Connecticut, P.V. gave powerful and memorable performances with the Hartford Symphony at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, at various concerts and festivals locally and across the country, on Connecticut TV and radio, at a very popular annual St. Patrick's Day concert at St. Joseph College, and at many a private party and wedding. In addition to his long list of memorable performances and recordings, P.V. created a strong and enduring legacy as a fiddle instructor, passing his mastery and skill to students of all ages. He was particularly proud of his younger students, whom he believed are the future of traditional Irish music in America. P.V. also was the gracious host and leader of a weekly traditional Irish music Sesiuin for the past 12 years every Wednesday night in downtown Hartford. He also was a driving force in the Buncrana and Connecticut chapters of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann, a group that promotes traditional Irish music and culture. P.V. enjoyed the love and devotion of a wide range of musical friends that includes his students, fellow performers, and those who just came to listen.
He is survived by three children from a previous marriage, daughter Lisa and two sons, John and Ciaran; two grandchildren, Karl and Sarah; two sisters, Ave and Gloria; and three brothers, John, Carl and Oliver. He was predeceased by his parents, Johnny "Broadway" O'Donnell and Bridie O'Donnell; and his sister, Vita O'Donnell Ferguson.
Visitation will be held at John F. Tierney Funeral Home, 219 West Center St., Manchester, from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 30, 2011.
A mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Bridget Church, 80 Main St., Manchester, at noon on Monday, Jan. 31, 2011.
Published in Journal Inquirer from January 29 to February 2, 2011