CHORAL ARRANGEMENTS  

Remembering Jack & Judy O'Donnell

Thanks to all who joined us for the Celebration of Life: Remembering Jack & Judy O'Donnell Through Story and Song on Decemeber 2nd, 2018, at St. Ninian's Cathedral in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. A special thanks to all who helped to make the Celebration memorable through their participation, including The Men of the Deeps, Scott Macmillan, Jennyfer Brickenden, Mary Jane Lamond, L'Arche Antigonish, Addy Doucette, Senator Mary Coyle, Dr. Michael Steinitz, Emery van de Wiel and the St. Ninian's Choir, Fr. Donald MacGillivray, and The Honourable Arthur J. LeBlanc and Mrs. Patsy LeBlanc. Thanks also to the 7 granddaughters, Bridget, Clara, Ella, Kathryn, Annie, Fiona, and Jessica, for their participation; to David Hillier and Fred Alexander for taking care of the sound and lights; to Padres Al Mills and Tom Hamilton for coordinating the reserved seating scene; to Andrew Murray and Norma Jean MacDonald for taking care of the donations; to the St. Ninian's CWL for helping to organize the reception; to my wife, Nancy, my sister, Lynn, and my good friend, Bruce Nunn, for coordinating things behind the scenes and allowing me to focus on my role as emcee; to Jeannine Carver and to everyone who pitched in at the last minute to make sure that the hundreds of other details got sorted out. It was truly a night to remember with about 1000 people in attendance. We also raised over $2000 for the St. Martha's Hospital Palliative Care Unit. Anyone who wants to make a donation in memory of Jack and Judy may do so by visiting the St. Martha's Regional Hospital Foundation website.
-- Contributed by John O'Donnell, Jack & Judy's Eldest Son --

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Jack & Judy's obituaries are posted below.

For more information about the Celebration of Life,
click on the following image of the program:

Celebration of Life - Jack & Judy O'Donnell

Celtic Love Knot

Jack O'DonnellJohn C. “Jack” O’Donnell, CM, MMus Ed, MMus, DLitt, LLD – Antigonish, NS, Canada

Died peacefully on 25 October 2018, with loved ones at his side in the Palliative Care Unit of St. Martha’s Regional Hospital in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. He leaves to mourn his wife, Judith, with whom he shared life for over 57 years; son John (Nancy LaRose) of Cole Harbour, NS; son Christopher (Carrie Redpath) of Prospect Bay, NS; daughter Lynn (Wayne Johnson) of Malignant Cove, NS; seven beloved grandchildren (his “ Seven Angels ”), Bridget, Clara, Ella, Kathryn, Annie, Fiona and Jessica; sister Pat (John Roberts) of South Portland, Maine, USA; nieces Suzan, Sharon, Carol, and Julie; and nephews, David and Brion. He was predeceased by his parents, Lillian and Clark, his brother, Richard, his nephew, Robert, and his great-nephew, JT.

Born in Portland, Maine, USA, in 1935, Jack was Professor Emeritus and former Chair of the Department of Music at his alma mater, St Francis Xavier University (StFX) in Antigonish, where he worked for 40 years. He held Graduate Degrees in Music Education (Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington, USA), and in Musicology (University of London, Kings College, UK). He also served for 50 years as conductor and musical director of the well-known Cape Breton coal miners’ choir, The Men of the Deeps. In 1983, Jack was awarded the Order of Canada for his work with The Men of the Deeps, and for playing a key role with his wife, Judy, in helping to establish L’Arche in Antigonish. In 1993 he received the degree of Doctor of Letters (DLitt) Honoris Causa from Cape Breton University. His work with The Men of the Deeps was again recognized in 2013 when Cape Breton University’s Beaton Institute presented him with the inaugural Katharine McLennan Award; in 2015, when he was recognized by the East Coast Music Association with the Dr. Helen Creighton Lifetime Achievement Award; and in 2016 when he received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree (LLD) from St. Francis Xavier University.

Amongst family, friends, former students and colleagues, Jack will be remembered as a loving husband, father, grandfather, and brother, as a highly gifted musician, composer, arranger, and director, as an excellent teacher, as an accomplished author, as a dedicated member of the Antigonish community, and as an expert martini-maker. He had a wonderful sense of humour, a humble spirit, a generous heart, and a love for “whatsoever things are true.” (Philippians 4:8) As a man of deep faith, he found inspiration in a broad range of spiritualities, but was particularly inspired by the inclusive spirituality of Celtic Christianity; he also shared his musical and other gifts generously over the years with numerous faith communities, including the communities at St. Ninian’s Cathedral Parish in Antigonish, the Chapel at StFX University, the Sisters of St. Martha at Bethany, the Spiritual Life Institute of America at Nova Nada in Nova Scotia, and at Holy Hill in Ireland, and at L’Arche in Antigonish and around the world.

As per Jack’s request, a small private family funeral liturgy will be held with burial taking place at a later date in St Mary’s Cemetery, Kings ’s Cove, Bonavista Bay, Newfoundland. A public musical celebration of Jack’s life is also being planned and will take place at a time to be announced in the coming weeks. Jack’s family wishes to recognize the wonderful and compassionate care that he received from the following medical, spiritual care, and other professionals during his illness: Dr. John Stein, Dr. Adrienne Weeks, and the nursing and other staff at the QEII in Halifax; Dr. Mike Brennan, Dr. Sarah Fraser, Dr. Jane Howard, Dr. Emily Rice and the nursing and other staff at St. Martha’s Regional Hospital in Antigonish; Fr. Charlie Burke and the spiritual care team at the QEII; Fr. Andrew Boyd and the spiritual care team at St. Martha’s; friend and stylist, Normajean MacDonald; the VON nurses who cared for Jack at home; and the amazing team of nurses in the Palliative Care Unit at St. Martha’s: Alison, Annie, Becky, Beverly, Dawn, Kendra, Lisa, Pierrette, Shelley, and Tara who provided such beautiful and loving care to Jack and his family in his final days. Memorial donations in memory of Jack may be made to the St. Martha’s Regional Hospital Foundation, or to the Victorian Order of Nurses.

Judy O'DonnellJudith M. (McGrath) O’Donnell – Antigonish, NS, Canada

Died peacefully on 19 November, 2018, surrounded by loved ones at the R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home; 25 days after the death of her beloved husband, Jack. She leaves to mourn her son John (Nancy LaRose) of Cole Harbour, NS; son Christopher (Carrie Redpath) of Prospect Bay, NS; daughter Lynn (Wayne Johnson) of Malignant Cove, NS; seven beloved grandchildren (her “Seven Angels”), Bridget, Clara, Ella, Kathryn, Annie, Fiona and Jessica. She was predeceased by her parents, Kevin and Nita McGrath, and by her beloved husband of 57 years, Jack O’Donnell.

 

Born in St. John’s, Newfoundland, in 1938, Judy graduated from Mount Saint Bernard College, StFX, in 1958. Following university, she worked for two years in adoption and foster home services in St. John’s, Newfoundland, with the Department of Welfare. She then moved to Spokane, Washington, where she worked in adoption and foster home services with Catholic Charities. In 1962, a little over a year after her marriage, she moved back to Nova Scotia, settling in Antigonish. In the early 1970’s, she helped to establish a workshop for mentally challenged adults at CAMR (now CACL), eventually becoming Program Director. In 1976, realizing a need for residential services in the Antigonish area, she became the driving force behind the founding of a Board of Directors that would go on to establish L’Arche Antigonish.

 

Judy played a key role in founding the Antigonish Creative Dance Association, served on the Antigonish Recreation Commission, and worked with the then Nova Scotia Department of Recreation to found the Antigonish Town and County Arts & Crafts Association. She was also a member of St. Ninian’s Cathedral Choir, and was involved for many years with the Antigonish Town & County Food Bank.

 

Amongst family and friends Judy will be remembered as an amazing host and cook, as a great story-teller, as a proud Newfoundlander, and as the coordinator of a social network that had a reach and a depth far greater than anything that could possibly have been achieved using Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. In her later years, she discovered and made great use of email as a means of communicating, while continuing to write letters and cards to family members and friends all over the world. She also loved and took great care of the wildlife that frequently visited the home she shared with Jack on the Mahoneys Beach Road. From birds to bears, fawns to foxes, all creatures great and small felt welcomed on the O’Donnell property, thanks to Judy’s legendary gift of hospitality.

 

As per Judy’s wishes, her family will organize a small private family funeral liturgy, and burial will take place at a later date in St Mary’s Cemetery, Kings ’s Cove, Bonavista Bay, Newfoundland. The Celebration of Life that was being planned for her husband, Jack, will now be a celebration for both Judy and Jack on Sunday, December 2nd, 7:00 p.m. at St. Ninian’s Cathedral in Antigonish. Judy’s family wishes to recognize the excellent and compassionate care she received from the following medical, spiritual care, and other professionals during her illness: Dr. Maude MacInnis and Dr. David Brake; Celeste DeCoste and Earth Angels Home Care; Fr. Andrew Boyd; and the wonderful nursing and other staff at the R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home who provided such beautiful and loving care to Judy and her family in her final days. Memorial donations in memory of Judy may be made to L’Arche Antigonish or to the Antigonish Community Food Bank.


A M B E R G L A D E__M U S I C
Telephone:  +1 902 702-7963/ E-mail: jkodonnell@mac.com