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James Anthony O’Donnell, 85, of Williamsburg, Va., passed away peacefully Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. Born on June 27, 1931, in Cleveland, Ohio, he was the son of James J. and Mary J. O’Donnell.
He married Ursula “Urlee” Wheatley on Aug. 6, 1966. They welcomed three children, Brendan, Meghan and Mollie. The family moved to the Washington, D.C., area where Jim spent his career at the U.S. Bureau of Mines, Department of Interior. He enjoyed his time in Northern Virginia attending his children’s sports and school events and socializing with a wonderful circle of friends.
An avid photographer, Jim received a Special Award for Photographic Excellence from Kodak during the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair, and later exhibited his photography in the Waterford Home Tour and Crafts Fair and in the Fairfax Art League exhibits.
Jim and Urlee retired to Williamsburg, Va., in 2006, where Jim loved spending time with their Williamsburg friends. Jim engaged in some serious bread baking and enjoyed delivering his fresh baked bread to his friends. He was a parishioner at Saint Bede Catholic Church, where he had volunteered in the Social Outreach Ministry. Proud of his Irish heritage, he was a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. He looked forward to his Saint Patrick’s Day celebration all year long!
Jim treasured his family above all else.
He was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Joanne Barth; along with his twin brother and best friend, Gene.
He is survived by his loving wife of 50 years, Urlee; their children, Brendan (Heather) O’Donnell, Meghan (Bob) Turney and Mollie (Todd) Neeter; grandchildren, Ainsley and Eilish O’Donnell and Patrick Turney, who all lovingly referred to him as “Papa J.;” and his beloved “baby sister,” Mary Jo Mooney. He also leaves behind a large, loving extended family of nieces, nephews, grand-nieces, grand-nephews, a close-knit group of neighbors and a large network of friends.
Jim was a true homebody who loved a chatty visit. At home, he enjoyed reading the Wall Street Journal, a good long nap and sneaking extra treats to his Corgi, “Tumbles!”
Jim will be remembered most for his faith in God, kind nature, gift of gab and off-the-charts love of butter.
Visitation will begin at 1 p.m. followed by a funeral Mass at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, at Saint Bede Catholic Church, 3686 Ironbound Road, Williamsburg. Burial in the Saint Bede Columbarium will follow.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in the name of James A. O’Donnell to the Williamsburg House of Mercy, the MCV Foundation designated to the Medical Center Fund or the Heritage Humane Society.
Online condolences may be shared at www.nelsencares.com.