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James O'Donnell

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James O'Donnell Obituary
O'Donnell, James Edward July 22, 1952 - February 20, 20012 James Edward O'Donnell (Jim, Jimmy) died February 20, 2012 at his home in Altadena, California following a 6 month battle with a rare form of colon cancer. He was 59-1/2 years old. The third of 5 children, and the only boy, he was born in Oakland, California July 22nd 1952 to Edward and Maureen (O'Flaherty) O'Donnell, immigrants from Ireland and England respectively. He started his education at Holy Rosary Catholic School in Antioch and graduated from Antioch High School in 1970. He attended UC Berkeley, graduated with his Bachelor's degree in linguistics and then went on to UCLA where he earned his Master's in Library Science. He served as acting Head of the Geology-Geophysics Library at UCLA in 1981. He then moved to Texas and was the science librarian at Trinity University in San Antonio before returning to California and beginning work at California Institute of Technology in Pasadena in 1986. There he began as manager of the Geology and Planetary Sciences library and progressed to running the Earthquake Engineering Library in 1994. In 2004 he was promoted to Head of Collections, Information and Research Services and remained in that position until his illness prevented him from working. He enjoyed anything that had to do with geology and maps. Jimmy was a gregarious fellow who loved to laugh, cook, and entertain. He played Santa every year at holiday gatherings at Caltech and All Saints Church in Pasadena. He owned over 125 cookbooks and had a blog, www.jimodocooks.blogspot.com , where he shared favorite recipes. He had a beautiful smile. Jim is survived by Ben Perez Arriaga, his partner of 8 years; his sister Joanne O'Donnell of Los Angeles, her daughter Laura Slaby and Joanne's partner Les Klein; his sister Sheila O'Donnell-Nicol of Fresno, her husband Larry Nicol and son Kevin Nicol; his sister Mary O'Donnell of Phoenix, Arizona and her son Cody Pyle; and his sister Anne O'Donnell of Buffalo Grove Illinois, her husband Brian Plunkett and sons Ed and Andy Plunkett. Jim also leaves behind a large number of friends, many of who made up 'Jim's Posse' who helped care for him during his final illness. There will be a memorial held in Jim's honor at 11:00 AM on March 31, 2012 at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena. Donations may be made in his name to the following charities: the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center www.lagaycenter.org, All Saints Episcopal Church of Pasadena, City of Hope, USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center http://uscnorriscancer.usc.edu/research/, or the donor's favorite charity.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Mar. 10, 2012
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