James E. "Jimmy" O'Donnell
92, of Indianapolis passed away peacefully on Wednesday, January 9, 2013 with his family by his side. Jimmy was our Indianapolis Hometown Hero.
He was born July 8, 1920 in Indianapolis and was the proud son of James H. and Kathleen (Slattery) O'Donnell. He and his family grew up in Holy Cross parish. He graduated from Tech High School in 1938 and served in the U.S. Navy from 1944 to 1946. Jimmy was the sole USS Indianapolis Survivor from the City of Indianapolis. The ship was sunk by the Japanese during WWII where 800+ sailors died. Only 317 survived.
After serving in the Navy, Jimmy was a life-long Indianapolis Firefighter, retiring in 1981. Also, during his time as a firefighter, he was a union stage hand working on his days off from the firehouse. Mary Alice and he were active parishioners at Our Lady of Lourdes parish for 40+ years and were very involved in supporting the Parish in many activities specially its' festival and bingo.
Jimmy was a member of American Legion #0495, Disabled American Veterans, F.R.A., Amvets, VFW, Our Lady of Fatima Council of Knights of Columbus, honorary member of the Sertoma Club, Firefighters' Union and the Stage Hands' Union. Jimmy was honored as 1995 Man of the Year by the Indianapolis Star, Indiana Sagamore of the Wabash in 1998 and Hibernian Irishman of the Year in 2001. The lives of many people have been touched with the sharing of his story of the USS Indianapolis and the history that it created. Jimmy and the USS Indianapolis Survivors' Organization were instrumental in having the Monument construction on the Canal in downtown Indianapolis. He was also honored with a statue of himself in his Navy uniform that is permanently placed at the City Market.
[It is only through the divine intervention that this memorial page was created on Jimmie's birthday. Rest in peace and thank you for your service.]
- Source: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/indystar/obituary.aspx?pid=162276428#sthash.Ha5xdTtS.dpuf