The Curry Coastal Pilot

James "Jimmy" Lee O'Donnell

Aug. 24, 1937-March 6, 2014

"An Inspiration to us all"

Jimmy Lee O'Donnell passed away peacefully due to respiratory illness at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Springfield, with family Jamie O'Donnell, Catherine Jobe and Nancy Gilkey close by his side.

Jim lived in Gold Beach with his companion Nancy Gilkey since 2009.

Jim had a most amazing and beautiful outlook on life and always saw the best in everything and everyone around him each and every day. He loved looking at everything with an open mind and great curiosity. He truly was an inspiration to us all and will be greatly missed by those who loved him dearly.

Jim was born Aug. 24, 1937, in Anacortes, Wash., to Joe O'Donnell and Deana Andrews.

He grew up in the Kent/Auburn Washington area and attended Kent-Meridian school. Jim spent a great many years working as a drywall taper in construction until his retirement in 1995; he was one of the best of his trade.

Jim served in the United States Navy from March 18, 1955, and was honorably discharged on March 19, 1963. He served on many naval ships around the world including the USS Dixie and USS Mullany. He was a man of the world and has been around it a few times. His passions were gold panning and mining, tinkering with his radiation detection equipment, and contemplating the universe around us. Meeting new people and making friends was easy for Jim. He had so many interesting and wonderful stories and facts of the world that he always shared with his family over the years. He was loved and adored by family and friends alike.

Jim is survived by his oldest son Mike O'Donnell of Vallejo, Calif., with grandchildren Jillian, Jamie, and Jenny; great-grandchildren Mikey and Addy; son Joe O'Donnell of Midland, Texas, with grandkids Kelly and Chris, great-grandchild Hannah; grandchild Cameron Miller of Cameron Park, Calif.; brothers Joe O'Donnell of Kent Wash., Terry O'Donnell of Oroville, Wash.; sisters Jacky Stracke of Puyallup, Wash., Joan Rogers of Centralia, Wash.

He was preceded in death by his daughter Kelly Wheeler, with whom he is now at peace in the heavens above.

A service will be at 2 p.m. Friday, March 14, at Rogue River Cemetery, 28885 Hunter Creek Loop in Gold Beach.

Redwood Memorial Chapel is assisting the family. Condolences may be expressed online at

Submitted by Redwood Memorial Chapel.