Dennis McDonnell

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WASHINGTON - Dennis A. McDonnell, 61, of Washington passed away at 1:44 p.m. Monday, Jan. 14, 2013, at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria.

Dennis was born on July 28, 1951, in Watford, England, to John and Gwen Price McDonnell. He married Mary Elizabeth "Libby" McDonnell, who preceded him in death. Dennis later married Jean Tharp in Pekin on Jan. 26, 1994. Jean survives.

Also surviving are three daughters, Ashley and Seanelle McDonnell, both of Lewistown, and Kirsti McDonnell of Washington; one son, Michael McDonnell of Washington; three sisters, Edith (Robin) Wilton, Sally Howard and Linda (Dave) Burton, all of England; and one brother, Steve (Jan) McDonnell.

He was also preceded in death by his parents and an infant daughter, Rachael.

Dennis worked for Caterpillar Inc. in building "AC" at Mossville as a design engineer. He had been working for Caterpillar in different capacities for more than 25 years.

Dennis loved spending time with his family, especially enjoying the camping trips while the kids were in Scouts and the family trips back to England. His father was Irish and his mother was from Wales, and Dennis was extremely proud of his Gaelic heritage.

In his spare time he enjoyed computer programming, antique cars and at times panning for gold in Colorado. One of his passions in life was cooking, and he had received his certification from the Cordon Blue Cooking School in France. Dennis also loved to make wine and brew beers and ales.

Dennis was raised in the Church of England and after coming to Washington, became a member of the Washington Presbyterian Church.

A celebration of Dennis's life will be Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013, at Washington Presbyterian Church, with the Rev. Rebecca Weltmann officiating. Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday at Mason-White Funeral Home, with cremation rites being accorded following visitation.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the McDonnell Education Fund, in care of Heartland Bank & Trust.

Online condolences may be made at

Published in Peoria Journal Star on Jan. 18, 2013
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