Rosaleen O’Donnell passed away quietly in her sleep on November 3rd, 2020. A woman who put others before herself. Visitation will be held on Friday, November 6, 2020 from 4 to 8 PM at Higgins and Bonner Echo Lake Funeral Home, 582 Springfield Ave., Westfield. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, November 7, 2020 at 10:00 AM at St. John the Apostle RC Church in Linden.
Born and raised in Dungloe, County Donegal, Ireland she was a woman who was always known to put herself before others. In that spirit, she left school as a teenager to help her mother, who had been diagnosed with inoperable cancer and to assist her father with multiple family businesses, most notably the Tirconiall Bar and Dance Hall.
Unfortunately, her mother passed away from cancer a few years later. She continued to help her father run the household and care for her siblings, as well as, working in the the family business. As a young woman she had endured much hardship, but, as fate would have it and as God had planned, she soon met the love of her life, Hugh O’Donnell. He had just returned from working in Yemen. He was strongly built and tan from working in the oil fields. In later years she admitted that she found him to very handsome and very sexy. It was truly love at first sight and they married three months after their first date.
They had two boy’s Owen & Pat within 2 years of that wedding, after which they decided to immigrate to America, where they believed there would be more opportunities for a growing family.
They settled in Elizabeth, New Jersey and over the next four years they had 4 more children, Mary Jo, Margie, Hugh, and Danny. She loved being a mother, so one night after having completed a decade of the rosary, we were told that God had graced the family with a miracle and that she was expecting another baby.
She gave birth to John, the last of seven children, on the day she had planned to give a party for her father who was visiting from Ireland. It was quite the day. Fortunately, while she was giving birth, our next-door neighbors, Aunt Em & Uncle AL, who had adopted us as their children, stepped in to help us give her father the party she believed he deserved.
As their children continued to grow and mature, Rosaleen and Hugh were living examples, to each them, of what a happy, joyful and satisfying life can be through steadfastness, devotion and unwavering love. Regrettably, tragedy struck the family in February 1989, when their son Hugh died after a six- year battle with leukemia. While their world was crashing down around them, they found strength and hope in each other as well as their unwavering belief in God and Mary to accept this unbelievable loss.
When her husband, Hugh, died she lost the “love of her life”. It was the greatest pain she had ever suffered. When people tell you that “time would help lessen the pain”, she responded that the loss of husband was even harder as each day passed. She is now with him and their son, Hugh. While all her children are grieving her passing, we all know that she is once again whole, after being united with her beloved other half and will continue to look after us and bless us in her new life.
Rosaleen is survived by her children, Owen O’Donnell and his wife Rose Ann, Mary Jo O’Donnell, Pat O’Donnell, Margie Cassini and her husband Joseph, Danny O’Donnell and his wife Gina and Johnny O’Donnell; grandchildren, Caroline Cassini, Jason O’Donnell, Kimberley and Madison O’Donnell, Kelly, Jack, James and Sarah O’Donnell; brother Morris O’Donnell.
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