Mary A. O’Donnell, 90
Published 5:36 pm Tuesday, September 19, 2023
Mary O’Donnell, age 90, of Austin, Minnesota, passed away Friday, September 15, 2023, at Our House Memory Care in Austin. Mary Agnes O’Donnell was born on December 23, 1932 to John W. and Agnes M. (Croatt) O’Donnell in Alta Vista, Iowa. The first 17 years of life she spent helping on the family farm as well as attending St. William’s Elementary School and High School. Mary was taught by the Dubuque Franciscan Sisters and did well in her studies. She graduated on May 28, 1950. After graduation Mary decided to enter the convent and become a teacher. She studied at Mount St. Francis and Briar Cliff College and graduated in 1952 with a degree in elementary education with a minor in English. She immediately applied for a teacher’s certificate and looked forward to many years of teaching and working with children. She enjoyed helping children learn.
She taught in five different schools that the order was contracted to serve. In March of 1980 she did graduate work in Information Media to be a Librarian. This entitled her to work in the various libraries we staffed. Mary left the order in 2003 and continued to work at Briar Cliff College, one of the projects was a weeding commitment that involved updating. The project included deleting outdated books and processing those not currently functional. This was excellent work directed by the head librarian and a crew of 15-20 work study students. In 2002, Mary moved to her own apartment in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Her next step was to take the civil service tests and apply for a job at the St. Cloud Reformatory in the records office this was in some ways similar to essential record keeping as in the library. Mary worked as a clerk typist for 15 years in Records until she retired at the age 66.5 years old.
As for her hobbies and retirement years, Mary did some traveling through a bus company named Travel Easy. This company was right in St. Cloud. She truly enjoyed the many trips and companions during those first years of retirement. She also enjoyed gardening, reading, working on puzzles, visiting her family, swimming and water exercise, as well as attending the cultural activities at the Paramount Theater. She often thought of doing some volunteering in the community especially at St. Cloud Hospital. Over the next 13 years she volunteered for 4,500 hours. It was very rewarding, and she was with many of her friends that she grew to enjoy. When Mary’s health started to decline, and memory problems started to surface she consulted her primary physician. They agreed that she needed to move to an assisted living facility and was encouraged to stop driving. Mary spoke with her immediate family, and they helped her move closer to her home territory to Leroy, Minnesota which was only 22 miles from her home in Alta Vista, Iowa. She lived there for many years before being transferred to Our House Memory Care in Austin, Minnesota. Mary will be dearly missed by all that knew and loved her.
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She is survived by her brother, Jim O’ Donnell of Alta Vista, Iowa; sister, Florence Reicks of Alta Vista, Iowa; and many nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends. She is preceded in death by her parents, John and Agnes O’Donnell; siblings, Catherine (Francis) Dietrich, Irma (Bill) Lusson, Margaret (Robert) Randak; brother-in-law, Cyril Reicks and sister-in-law, Charlotte O’Donnell.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00a.m. on Friday September 22, 2023, at St. Bernard Catholic Church, 116 E. Washington St. in Alta Vista, Iowa. Visitation will take place one hour prior to the service on Friday at the church. Interment will be in Calvary Cemetery in Alta Vista, Iowa. Worlein Funeral Home of Austin is assisting the family with arrangements. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.worlein.com.