JULY 2012 – Farewell, Pro-Life Friend!


On Independence Day 2012 we lost a beloved family member and a true Pro-Life friend when my stepfather passed away due to complications from a long and grueling heart surgery.

Michael E. O’Donnell, born January 1, 1949, in Zanesville, Ohio, came into our lives about 6 years ago. He was the kind of person that you instantly took a shine to because of his easy going, generous, kind and loving nature [I could go on and on…]. Even more of a blessing was that my mother, after a not-so-pleasant marriage of 33 years, finally found someone who loved her in the true sense of what authentic human relationships, and even romantic novels, are made of.

He was a welcome addition to our family who made every social occasion that much better, and a calming presence whenever the storms of life arose. I really thought they would spend the remainder of their years together, but our God had other plans for our Michael.

Although not officially a member, that did not stop him from rolling up his sleeves and giving of himself personally and financially whenever we asked.

Michael helped with LifeChain and the Respect Life Memorial Service, and we could always rely on him when ‘heavy lifting’ was involved. There was simply no task beneath or above him regardless of the circumstance. He was a dedicated Pro-Life warrior and PHL-BBC will sorely miss him as we go forward in our activities.

Michael suffered in the days following an open heart procedure that lasted three times the normal duration (over 15 hours non-stop). His body never really had a chance to recover as complications almost immediately set in, one following another. We waited patiently and prayerfully for signs that would indicate a daily progress of recovery, but that never really happened and we all rode an emotional roller coaster as one crisis after another unfolded. Yet witnessing his decline with the most at stake, and likely the heaviest heart, was my mother who from the beginning had eagerly looked forward to Michael’s transition back into their home. I could see how her concern and worry took an immediate toll on her own body.

Although Michael had a strong heart, his vascular system was weak. Yet aside from that we know that he had a good heart, evident by the way that he lived.

Scripture tells us that ‘you will know them by their fruits,’ and you could learn all that you needed to know about Michael within a matter of minutes. There were no pretenses; just a good-hearted guy who showed nothing but kindness to even those who deserved otherwise. And when people like that come around as rarely as they do, it’s so very hard to let go.

There is comfort in knowing that he will never suffer again, safe now in the embrace of the Son and his mother. Yet we will feel the effects of this loss for some time. Michael will always be with us as we remember the good times with a ‘light heart.’ And if I know Michael, he would have wanted it this way.

Yet with heavy heart we must now say farewell to a loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather, all around great guy and dedicated Pro-Life friend.



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