WATERTOWN, NY — John A. O’Donnell, 83, Watertown, passed away Sunday, April 24, 2022, surrounded by his family at Samaritan Summit Village where he had resided since the fall of 2018.
John was born March 28, 1939, in Binghamton, son of the late Joseph F. and Helen L. Griffin O’Donnell. He was a 1957 graduate of Binghamton Central School and graduated from Leland Powers School of Radio, TV, and Theater, Boston, MA in 1960.
He married Maureen Regan on Oct. 16, 1965, in Massena.
John worked for WDDY, Gouster, VA from 1960 – 1961, for WSLB, Ogdensburg from 1961 – 1967, and for the Ogdensburg Journal from 1967 – 1971. He also was the St. Lawrence reporter for the Syracuse Herald and Post Standard from 1963 – 1971. In 1972 he began his career at the Watertown Daily Times as the sports editor, working full time until 1999 and worked part time for the next 10 years. John also was a maintenance worker for Green Thumb of NYS during his retirement.
John was fortunate to have covered many national championships and all local college and high school men’s and women’s sports. He received the NYS Publisher’s Award for distinguished local reporting for the 1980 Olympics, including the Miracle on Ice. Every autumn he was known for his OD on football in the Watertown Daily Times, where enthusiast fans tried to out pick him.
He was a communicant of Holy Family Church. While in Ogdensburg, John was a member of its Lions and Elks Clubs and the Knights of Columbus, supported its Boys Club, and helped get Pop Warner started in Ogdensburg. He was a member of the Watertown Elks Club and Knights of Columbus, volunteered for Hospice of Jefferson County, and was a patient advocate at the House of the Good Samaritan.
John enjoyed music, especially Big Bands and reading, with his favorite as History.
He was a member of both the Watertown Red and Black and the Jefferson Communality College Hall of Fames.
John will be greatly missed by his coffee buddies at Pickles, Lloyd’s, Tiny’s, Stratton’s, and Russell’s Cafe.
John is survived by his wife, Maureen, Watertown; four sons, John and Connie, Joseph and wife Amy, Robert, and Timothy, all of Watertown; three grandsons, Conor, Michael and Owen; sister Susan Baldwin and husband Ray, Endwell; and several nieces, nephews, and cousins.
The family would like to thank his doctor, Dr. Collins Kellogg, and his caretakers at Samaritan Summit Village, April, Abby, Steve, Shal, Heather, Jerry, Mandy, Cindy, Isabella, Nishelle, Susie, Shauna, Nichola, and Tim Cole for their care and devotion they showed to John.
Calling hours will be held 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, April 29, at Cummings Funeral Service, Inc., Watertown. The funeral Mass will be celebrated 1 p.m. Saturday, April 30, at Holy Family Church followed by burial in Glenwood Cemetery.
Online condolences may be posted at www.cummingsfuneral.com.