Russell J O'Donnell

russell o'donnell
Russell J. O’Donnell, age 83, of Elma, IA passed away Sunday, September 20, 2020 at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, MN with his family by his side. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 AM on Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at Immaculate Conception Church in Elma, IA with Father Jerry Kopacek celebrating the mass. Please feel free to join the family via Facebook Live to attend the mass online. Military Honors will be provided by Elma American Legion Post #597. Burial will be at St. Patrick of St. Cecelia Cemetery in rural Elma. Online condolences may be left at Memorials may be directed to The Friends of St. Patrick of St. Cecelia Church and St. Mary’s Hospice Unit. Visitation will be held from 4:00-7:00 PM on Tuesday, September 22, 2020 at Conway-Markham Funeral Home in Elma with a 7:00 PM Time of Sharing. Visitation will continue at the funeral home one hour prior to the funeral mass on Wednesday. The family has requested that anyone attending the visitation and/or funeral mask be respectful of social distancing guidelines and mask requirements. Russ was born August 23, 1937, the son of Francis and Marie (Ferrie) O’Donnell in Elma, IA. He attended and graduated from Immaculate Conception High School. After completing his education, Russ enlisted in the US Army. He returned home in 1958, when he met the love of his life, Margaret Keenan at a dance and spent the next 60 years dancing. They were united in marriage on January 7, 1961 at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Waukon, IA. The couple made their home in Elma, where they welcomed three of their children, Mike, Pat and Cathy. Russ owned and operated a tank truck service. The young family moved to Lawler, welcoming their youngest child, Mary. Russ and Margaret purchased and ran what’s known today as, “The Brite Spot.” The family returned to Elma purchasing Pints Gas Station, turning it into Russ’s Conoco Station. He added a rock truck service. In 1980, Russ received a US Mail service contract and transported for the United States Postal Service for the remainder of his career, retiring in 1999. In his later years, Russ enjoyed spending time with and supporting his grandchildren. He was always busy with a community function or two, and he and Margaret enjoyed trips to the Mississippi. There was always time to drop a line in the water or take aim during hunting season with his children and grandchildren. Those left to cherish Russ’ memory are his wife, Margaret O’Donnell of Elma, IA; his children, Mike (Trudy) O’Donnell of Elma, IA, Pat (Carol) O’Donnell of Nora Springs, IA, Cathy (Bruce) Fox of Owatonna, MN and Mary (Brad) Shupe of Rockwell, IA; his twelve grandchildren, Robert “Bob”, Chelsea, Jenna, Connor, Carly, Jake, Loryn, Joe, Haden, Maddison, McKensie, and Maci; one great-grandson, Nolan; his brother, Jerry (Barb) O’Donnell of Cresco; his sisters, Lavon (Galen) Fye of Cresco, IA, Lois (Don) Recker of Cresco and Mary Kay (Tom) Bucheit of Osage, IA and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers, Jerome and Gene; sister, Ann Neubauer, and brother-in-law, Joe Neubauer.

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Memories Timeline


  1. Our sympathy to all the O’Donnell families. Russ was truly an icon of Elma history. He contributed a lot to the community. LeRoy and Louise Cutsforth

  2. Russ stepped in when my dad no longer could. He guided me, reassured me, taught me things, we had good laughs, times I will never forget. You are forever in my heart Russ, I will miss you so very very much. My love to you and the family.

  3. We are so sorry for your loss,Margaret and all of Russ,s family,you are in our thoughts and prayers.Love Tom and Marian Gebel

  4. We are sorry to read about Russ dying. He was a special friend and always a joy to be around. May you Rest In Peace Russ. God loves you. Sincerely Jack and Dianne

  5. With deepest sympathy to Margaret and family. Worked with Russ at the Midland service station in Elma in ’63 & ’64. Always had a great sense of humor. A joy to be around. Am sure he’ll be missed greatly.

  6. With heartfelt condolences, Joyce & Bob Schorg, Joe, Jeff, Jerry & Jess Keenan, Janet & Gerry Henning, Jennifer & Mike Swann and families.

  7. Margaret & Family- May you find peace in your memories. Cheryl & Jim Erb; Lisa & Scott Soifer & family; Brad & Kate Jahnel; Monica & Matt Harris

  8. My deepest sympathy to all of Russ’s family and friends. I remember him well from my childhood in Elma and the large lovely family he was a part of. May he Rest In Peace. 🙏 Joanne Ludwig Rausch

  9. Please accept our most heartfelt sympathies for your loss… Our thoughts are with you and your family during this difficult time.

  10. To the Family of Russell O’Donnell… With Sympathy and Prayers… No life passes without a purpose, no sorrow goes uncomforted. Warm thoughts of sympathy are with you now, along with a prayer that God will be especially close to you in the days ahead. Know of our thoughts and prayers at this difficult time. In Faith, Di and Reecee Kovarik amd special friend Roger Craft

  11. Condolences to the O’Donnell family-Going to miss seeing Russ out on the Wapsi during hunting season. Bill and Sharon Cashman

  12. Margaret and family, very sorry to here about Russ. our thoughts and prayers are with all of you at this time.

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