Feb. 14, 1921 – March 10, 2013
Tom was born on Valentine's Day,1921, the first of five children born to Thomas and Kathryn O'Donnell of Kansas City, MO. Tom joined the Navy in June of 1940, and was aboard the USS Oklahoma at Pearl Harbor on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941. When she capsized early in the battle, Tom swam to the USS Maryland and continued the fight.
Tom was next stationed on the USS Northampton, where he participated in the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo and the battle of Midway. Before midnight on Nov. 30, 1942, the Northampton was sunk off Guadalcanal, and Tom spent several hours in the water before being rescued. He returned to Kansas City on leave, during which time he married his childhood sweetheart, Wilma Allen, on her 18th birthday. Shortly after, he was posted to the USS Iowa in the Atlantic, where things were much quieter. Tom retired from the Navy in 1962, but he never left the maritime environment, working at Mare Island and Martinack Ship Builders in Washington for several years.
Tom and Wilma were married for 54 years. Wilma preceeded him in death in 1996. Tom's many interests included racing pidgeons, playing the accordion, piano, harmonica, and guitar, raising cattle and rabbits, and bowling. He was a 40 year member of the Fleet Reserve Association, and the Oklahoma and Northampton Ships Associations.
Tom was preceded by his sister, Kathyrn (Ross), and leaves behind sisters, Maryann (Sullivan) of Overland Park, KS, Patricia (Harris) of Ft. Worth, TX; brother, Michael (Auburn, WA); children, Thomas O'Donnell lll (Vallejo), Edward O'Donnell (Bakersfield), Wilma O'Donnell-Jacques (Vallejo); grandchildren, Amy, Paul, Bill, Scott, Ike, Brandy and Francisca, and 14 great-grandchildren.
Eight bells sailor, well done.
A memorial service with full military honors will be held 11 a.m., Thursday, March 21, at Twin Chapels Mortuary, 1100 Tennessee St., Vallejo. Inurnment will be private at Sacramento Valley VA National Cemetery, Dixon.
Please visit the online tribute at www.TwinChapelsMortuary.com.
Cremation and arrangements entrusted to the direction and care of Twin Chapels Mortuary (707) 552-6696.