Kenneth F. O'Donnell
FUNERAL HOME
Francioni Taylor & Lopez Funeral Home Inc
1200 10Th Ave
Neptune, NJ
Kenneth F. O'Donnell

Brielle - Kenneth F. O'Donnell, 71, of Brielle, passed away Saturday, June 12, 2021 at his home peacefully. Ken was born to Jean and Herbert O'Donnell in Neptune, NJ. He grew up in Neptune City, NJ where he could always be found playing sports, especially baseball and basketball. Being signed to the Kansas City Royals Organization out of high school, Ken began a very successful career. He traveled playing minor league baseballfor 5 years before returning back to his hometown. Ken graduated from Monmouth College and went on to become a teacher, coach and mentor at the Neptune Middle and High Schools. He married the love of his life Karen (Kratson) on August 26, 1973. They were married for 47 years and raised 3 wonderful children. Throughout Ken's career at Neptune he accomplished several feats. As a player, he was selected as All-Shore and All-State in baseball and basketball. As a coach, he left a legacy with his leadership, dedication and passion for all his players. Throughout his 43 year career with Neptune he coached several sports including boys soccer, Varsity baseball, and Girls and Boys Varsity basketball. In 1984 his girls basketball team won their first NJSIAA Group championship. In 2002 and 2009 his boys basketball teams won NJSIAA Group championships. He was inducted into the Neptune High School Hall of Fame as a coach and a player, as well as the New Jersey State Sports Hall of Fame. Ken is the only Jersey Shore coach ever to win state championships as a boys and girls Varsity basketball coach, and one of the only coaches in the state to accomplish this feat. After his retirement Ken went on to coach the Hillel Yeshiva Boys Varsity Basketball team where he led them to successful seasons. Ken was predeceased by his parents Jean and Herbert O'Donnell and brother Herbert O'Donnell Jr. He is survived by his loving wife Karen O'Donnell; sister Barbara Johnson; children Kevin O'Donnell and wife Amy, Sean O'Donnell and wife Beth and Lauren Behnke and husband Greg; his grandchildren Katherine, Matthew, Ava, Maya, Jack and Finnegan; and many other family members.

Family and friends are invited to attend a viewing on Wednesday, June 16, 2021 from 2pm-8pm at Francioni, Taylor & Lopez Funeral Home, 1200 10th Ave, Neptune.

A 10:30am mass of Christian burial will be held Thursday, June 17, 2021 at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, Asbury Park. Interment will be private. For more information visit http://www.ftl-funeralhome.com

In lieu of flowers you may send donations to the American Heart Association https//www.heart.org/



Published by Asbury Park Press from Jun. 14 to Jun. 15, 2021.
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MEMORIAL EVENTS
Jun
16
Viewing
2:00p.m.
Francioni Taylor & Lopez Funeral Home Inc
1200 10Th Ave, Neptune, NJ
Jun
17
Mass of Christian Burial
10:30a.m.
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church
Asbury Park, NJ
Funeral services provided by:
Francioni Taylor & Lopez Funeral Home Inc
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35 Entries
Dear Karen and Family, We have thought of you and Kenny so many times over the years. Russ was so saddened to hear of Kenny´s passing. Russ played baseball with Kenny at Neptune High. He admired him so much. He has followed his accomplishments over the years. We used to come see you after we moved to Massachusetts. Please accept our deepest condolences for your loss. Our prayers are with you, and your family.
Mr. and Mrs. Russell Pennell
Friend
October 18, 2021
So sorry to hear about Kenny. We were in Florida so we missed the wake and funeral. Kenny RIP YOU were a GREAT MAN AND YOU WILL BE MISSED MY FRIEND. THANKS FOR EVERTHING YOU DID TO HELP THE YOUTH AT THE SHORE !! CONDOLENCES TO YOUR WIFE AND FAMILY
CRAIG SULAITIS
Friend
July 6, 2021
Karen and kids, I am so saddened to hear of Ken's passing. From the time we first met in school there was a great connection that grew into a lifelong friendship. When Ken took the boy's coaching job and asked me to give him a hand I witnessed his calm steady demeanor as he grew into the job. Although many years have passed, I will fondly remember those years with a smile on my face when I think of him..RIP my friend...
Steve Cutillo
Friend
June 27, 2021
When I first met Ken he was in fifth grade. Even then it was apparent he was a length or two ahead of the rest of us and from reading here that continued into his adult life. May God be with his family and loved ones during this difficult time as He is with Ken.
Dana Mansfield
June 25, 2021
To Mrs. O’Donnell and Family,
My sincerest condolences. Kenny and I met in the late 80’s after my family moved to the area in 1987. I became involved in the Deal Sephardic Youth organization (now called DSN) and reached out to Kenny for help organizing a youth basketball summer program. From the first I recognized the fine character of Kenny O’Donnell. He demonstrated the character traits we wanted our youth to develop— respect for others, hard work, fairness, and humility. He was a role model—basketball was the vehicle but it was the lessons of life and how to behave which were the purpose. Throughout the years we shared experiences— helping with the Hillel Yeshiva Varsity championship team 1992-1993 along with Joel Rishty, and many times we saw each other when he reffed my children’s and grandchildren’s games— every time we greeted each other with it brought back great memories. Kenny had a no nonsense exterior but all knew how deep his care was for all who entered his world. On behalf of all those who learned under Kenny from the Sephardic and Hillel community I would like to express our profound gratitude for everything Kenny has done for us. He will certainly be missed. Sincere,
Elliot Braha
Elliot Braha
Friend
June 22, 2021
I was a colleague of Kenny O' Donnell whose heart for young people was so evident in his classroom and on the basketball court. It was my pleasure to work with him at Neptune High school and as a parent, to witness his coaching skill and development with his girl's basketball team who soared under his leadership. My daughter was one of his fortunate participants. Thank you O'Donnell family for sharing Kenny with the staff, the students and the teams.
Shirley B Parker
June 22, 2021
I am deeply saddened by news of Kenny O'Donnell's passing. Way back when I first met him in third grade at Roosevelt School in Neptune City, I knew that he was someone special. Rest in peace, my friend, and know that the world is a better place because you were in it.
Joan Brady
Friend
June 20, 2021
I am so heartbroken to learn of Mr O’Donnell’s passing today. He was not just a neighbor, but like family to us on Locust Road. I will always be thankful for everything he did for my parents and for my sister. May heaven be calm and comfort for you now.
Lawton Morro
Neighbor
June 20, 2021
I am so heartbroken to learn of Mr O’Donnell’s passing today. He was not just a neighbor, but like family to us on Locust Road. I will always be thankful for everything he did for my parents and for my sister. May heaven be calm and comfort for you now.
Lawton M
Neighbor
June 20, 2021
Shocked and saddened . Regret I was unable to attend viewing. Terrific coach, leader, & role model. Always a gentleman.
Tony Graham
Friend
June 19, 2021
Please add me to the hundreds of KennyO’s incredible admirers. I am so upset for Karen, the family and ALL of us because Kenny had a calming presence that can not be imitated. I honestly can call him my good friend because from my Soccer days, RKE , New Jersey Gravel and Sand Kenny always came to see me to “ catch up “ on our lives and families. When he calmly spoke to me and looked me in the eyes I always knew he really cared. I had so much respect for how he handled everything especially continuing to spread all that mulch by himself during his “free time “. Kenny’s free time was always spent doing for others and to me that was his greatest attribute. We live in North Carolina now but my thoughts, Daily Mass, and tears shed this past week has been emotional for me. I am so sorry Karen but you were ALWAYS there for him and you were a beautiful couple. God Bless ALL of you and when it seems like everything is caving in on you just remember that calming stare and smile from our great buddy! Kevin & Ellen Gannon.
Kevin Gannon
Friend
June 18, 2021
Coach O'Donnell made a huge impact on my life as I spent 4 years of high school with him on the girls basketball team. I was honored when he brought me in as a freshman and we won the Girls State Championship. He taught me alot of skills I used on and off the court as a young adult. As a coach, his demeanor was quite but firm and he was well respected. I enjoyed the many times his wife, Karen welcomed our team into their home for celebratory game wins & pizza night. I'm glad I had the opportunity to see him years ago during the Neptune Hall of Fame induction ceremony weekend. Thank you Ken O'Donnell! My sincerest condolences to Karen and their children, Kevin, Sean and Lauren.
Lisa Jones
Student
June 18, 2021
Rest in Peace! Neptune finest! Will be truly missed.
L Hamilton
Student
June 18, 2021
Great Teacher, Great Coach, Great Mentor, Great Man!
RIP Mr O’Donnell
The Robertson Family
Linda Robertson
Friend
June 18, 2021
Greatest guy I ever met, best referee, he gave me every call, I met Kenny on the jersey shore when I was about 18, 19 years old playing basketball at the JCC down in Deal NJ, he refereed most or all our games for a good amount of years, after the league stopped , he started to referee our community tournaments, he always had nice words for me as a young player, I'm gonna miss you Kenny... I'm gonna tell you in all the years I played basketball, over 25-30 years, Best Ref Ever.
Miss you already, not gonna be the same seeing you ref the games anymore, rest in peace my friend.

Abie Dweck
Abe Dweck
Friend
June 17, 2021
Our deepest condolences to the entire family of Coach/Teacher Ken O'Donnell. Ken had a friendly personality and was a kind man. Hold onto your precious memories. May He RIP.
The Pruitt Family
Charles and Teresa Pruitt
Acquaintance
June 16, 2021
The Grossmann family
June 16, 2021
I knew Kenny from approximately 30 years ago while he was reffing games in our community, and more recently over the last 10 years or so while he has been umpiring our Softball games on Sundays.
Kenny was a phenomenal person, kind, sweet, I always had a great deal of respect for him, as he was a quiet guy but had a real presence about him. He was a class act. I will truly miss him. As a community we owe Kenny a great deal of gratitude and respect for all he has taught us, and shared with all of us including the youth through the years. i sincerely thank him and want you to know he was a fine gentleman and will be dearly missed. May he Rest In Peace and may the O’Donnell Family be consoled with only good memories.
Henry Shalam
Acquaintance
June 15, 2021
To the family and friends of Mr. ODonnell sorry for your loss.Such a great person and a kind soul.He was my history teacher and my sons basketball coach.May you Rest Easy.
Condolences Cheryl,Tim Wright
Cheryl Wright
Student
June 15, 2021
Great person, great athlete. The real deal. Classmate NHS ‘68. Condolences to his entire family.
Jim Ogle
Classmate
June 15, 2021
Great person, great athlete. The real deal. Classmate NHS ‘68
Jim Ogle
Classmate
June 15, 2021
Dear O'Donnell Family, The entire Neptune School District family wants to extend their condolences on the passing of Ken. He was a wonderful educator who dedicated his entire career to the youth of the NTSD we also are grateful for his coaching and mentoring of hundreds of student athletes. It was my distinct professional privilege to share in many of his accomplishments on and off the court making the NTSD recognized state-wide as an outstanding school system and community. Sincerely, Dr. Michael T. Lake
Michael T Lake
Coworker
June 15, 2021
To the O'Donnell family, Our thoughts and prayers go out to you at such a sad time. Ken was a great person and will surely be missed.
Joe and Michele Lucas
joseph lucas
Friend
June 15, 2021
May your memories of the wonderful times you shared with your loved one comfort you and your family, today and always.
American Heart Association
June 15, 2021
Remember riding bikes as kids with him, Bobby, and all the kids on “ the Ridge “ in Neptune City. It was a pleasure and an honor to cheer for him at Neptune, he led us to so many wins. And, such a wonderful coach and role model, for so many kids. Always a gentleman and great person. Sincerest condolences to Karen and his entire lovely family, Gerri Chappell Popkin, NHS ‘68.
Gerri C. Popkin
Classmate
June 15, 2021
May the love of friends and family carry you through your grief.
MaryAnn Smith
Acquaintance
June 15, 2021
Coach O’Donnell was a total class act. He will be missed. I played soccer for him for just one season. What a great man. My condolences to his whole family.
Mike Paduano
Acquaintance
June 15, 2021
You always had my back and that is something I will never forget. You will be truly missed. My thoughts and prayers are with the O’Donnell family during this difficult time. Rest In Peace my friend.
Tony Bunn
Friend
June 15, 2021
I loved seeing Mr. O’Donnell all summer long along with Karen. He was always a joy to see and be around. He will certainly be missed by me and many others. Your family is in our prayers.
Krissy Suckow
Friend
June 15, 2021
Kenny was a fellow ball player at Carton’s field in Neptune City and on the Neptune High School team. He was the best natural baseball player I remember and just a great all-around athlete. Along with that he was a great kid and grew up to be a great guy period. I moved away after high school but my sister kept me up to date on his years as a successful basketball coach and would see him from time to time. Another great person from a great town of Neptune City. Condolences to his family. I only wish I could have spoken to him at some point over these past many years. Kenny was the type of person many of us aspired to be.
Craig Wagner
Friend
June 15, 2021
Please accept my condolences

May Kenny Rest In Peace And May Perpetual Light Shine Upon Him


Bob Woods
Friend
June 14, 2021
A man who was an icon in so many ways.
A man who was respected and gave respect
A man who always looked to help others
A man with a genuine smile
A man who always led by example
A man who truly cared about others
A man who really appreciated life
A man who was all about family
A man with although a troubled heart was a big hearted person
A man you can talk about forever
A man who will be greatly missed

All of us are empty for losing such a man
Someone we can all aspire to be
Rest in peace my friend
I will always remember how good of a person you were.

God bless the O'Donnell family during this most difficult time.

Tom Manzo
Friend
June 14, 2021
I was stunned by this news. My thoughts and prayers are with the O'Donnell family in your time of grief. Heaven has another angel.
Diana Macolino D'Ambrosi
Classmate
June 14, 2021
Mr ODonell may have been a legend in athletics but to me he was a legend for the amazing man he was and friend to me. I am beyond heartbroken that I will never get to see him again but know that he will forever be watching over all he knew. Prayers to Karen, Kevin, Sean, Lauren and their families. He will be missed but never forgotten.
Jennifer Dinkjian Cremen
Friend
June 14, 2021
Mr ODonell may have been a legend in athletics but to me he was a legend for the amazing man he was and friend to me. I am beyond heartbroken that I will never get to see him again but know that he will forever be watching over all he knew. Prayers to Karen, Kevin, Sean, Lauren and their families. He will be missed but never forgotten.
Jennifer Dinkjian Cremen
Friend
June 14, 2021
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