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Michael O'Donnell

Obituary for Michael O'Donnell

February 17, 1936 - January 26, 2019
Manchester, New Hampshire | Age 82


Michael O'Donnell, 82, of Manchester passed away, surrounded by the love of his family, Friday, January 25th following a period of declining health.

Michael was born in Bridgeport, CT on February 17, 1936 to Michael and Jeannie (Jackson) O'Donnell. A star football and basketball player, Michael attended Bridgeport University on an academic scholarship, earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Shortly after college, Michael enlisted in the US Army and proudly served his country while stationed in Germany. During his time in the service, he met Sonja Homme, a Wisconsin native, who was serving as the base's Entertainment Organizer for the GI Service Club. Upon honorable discharge, Michael and Sonja returned to the States to settle down in Fairfield, CT where they got married and started a family. They moved to Bedford, NH in the early 70s and Michael began his career as a self-employed furniture salesman.
The couple had an enjoyment of playing Bridge that bordered on obsession. They played endless hands together and with friends, with Sonja teaching the art of the game to others when she wasn't busy playing. They enjoyed extensive travel, particularly enjoying trips to Europe to explore Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. Michael possessed a fierce love for his family and friends. Being a voracious reader, he could easily have been considered Bedford Library's best customer, often devouring 4-5 novels on a weekly basis. Educated and highly intelligent, he maintained a razor-sharp wit through his final days, and was often lovingly referred to by his fellow community members as the Mayor of Birch Hill Terrace as a nod to his outgoing and friendly personality.

Michael is survived by his wife of 55 years, Sonja O'Donnell of Manchester; his daughter, Jill O'Donnell and her husband, Channa Perera of Yonkers, NY; his son, Eric O'Donnell and his wife, Jeanine of Hampton, NH; grandchildren, Cassidy and Skylar; his sister, Kathe O'Donnell; and several nieces and nephews.
A Celebration Of Life party will be held Friday, July 19th, 1:00-5:00pm at Birch Hill Terrace, 200 Alliance Way in Manchester. In lieu of flowers, to the Cure Alzheimer's Fund may be made online at 100% of the donations collected go directly to research, or to the Birch Hill Benevolent Fund at 200 Alliance Way, Manchester, NH, 03102. Phaneuf Funeral Homes & Crematorium is assisting the family with services. To view an online Tribute, leave a message of condolence, or check updated service information, please go to

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Suggested Memorial Donations

  • Birch Hill Benevolent Fund
    200 Alliance Way
    Manchester, NH 03102

Arrangements By

Phaneuf Funeral Homes & Crematorium - Hanover Street

243 Hanover Street
Manchester, NH 03104
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