Cover photo for Charles J. O'Donnell's Obituary
Charles J. O'Donnell Profile Photo

Charles J. O'Donnell

February 20, 1933 — December 28, 2023


Charles J. O'Donnell

Charles J. “Buzz” O'Donnell, age 90, of Havertown, PA, passed away on December 28, 2023.

Born in Germantown in 1933, Buzz was one of 12 children and the eldest son of the late Charles R. and Elizabeth (nee Dever) O’Donnell. In his later years, Buzz recounted fond recollections of his early years, including stories of growing up as part of a large Irish family in East Germantown; relationships with extended family members and neighbors who were part of the fabric of his childhood; and playing with his brothers (and sometimes being chased away by the groundskeeper) at the Awbury Arboretum.

Buzz served honorably as a US Navy machinist 2nd class aboard the USS Wisconsin during the Korean War. Upon his return, he underwent training to become an electrician, a trade that he practiced until his retirement in 1995. He was a proud and active member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 98, through which he formed numerous lifelong friendships. Through IBEW Local 98, he also enjoyed the annual Local picnic and marched with Local 98 in the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in Philadelphia.

More than anything else, though, Buzz was a family man. His greatest pleasure in life was spending time with his children and grandchildren; sharing stories, making Sunday breakfast, working together on projects around the house, enjoying family vacations at the Jersey shore, and celebrating holidays together.

In his 57 years living in Havertown, Buzz also became an integral part of the neighborhood. His easygoing demeanor, ready smile, and laidback personality endeared him to his neighbors, who found in him a steady and supportive presence. He was always ready and willing to lend a helping hand or an empathetic listening ear to his neighbors, friends, and community. For a number of years in his younger days, Buzz volunteered his electrical services during the annual St. Denis Family Fun Fair.

Buzz is survived by his wife of 66 years, Frances M. (nee North); his beloved children Eileen (the late Rick Valentine), Charles Jr. (Frank Lo), Karen, and Maureen (Jeri Shillady); his treasured grandchildren Jeffrey Nelson (Emma) and Molly Nelson; and his great-grandson Beau Nelson. He is also survived by his siblings Peggy, Rosemary, Frank, Joe, and Ed, and by his brother-in-law James T. North; He was predeceased by his siblings Betty, Helen, Kay, Ruthie, Bobby, and Billy.

A Celebration of Life will be scheduled at a future date.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Holy Family Home, 5300 Chester Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19143 - or to Awbury Arboretum, 1 Awbury Rd., Philadelphia, PA 19139 -

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Charles J. O'Donnell, please visit our flower store.


Visits: 148

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree