Official Website of the U.S. Marine Raider Association & Foundation

Select Page

Obituaries > O’DONNELL, FRANCIS H., JR.

Hod O’Donnell, 92, passed away peacefully at the Rosebud Health Care Center in Forsyth, Montana on August 11, 2016, with his wife at his side.

Hod was born on February 14, 1924 in Billings, Montana to Margaret Spurling O’Donnell and Francis Harold O’Donnell, Sr.

In December, 1941, Hod enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He was chosen to join Carlson’s Marine Raiders, and he shipped out to serve in the South Pacific. Hod’s active duty Navy career lasted for 26 years – through WWII, the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam War. While in the Navy, Hod enjoyed many wonderful duty stations from Oregon and Washington to California and Alaska, many WESTPAC cruises and at each station he not only met great friends, but he was able to take advantage of each area’s fishing and hunting opportunities. He retired in 1968 as a Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman. Hod’s second career was also in the medical field. In 1968, he accepted a position with the Ciba Geigy Pharmaceutical Company and moved to Bakersfield, California, where he earned numerous Ciba-Geigy sales awards. While in Bakersfield, Hod obtained his private pilot’s license and enjoyed flying friends and family to hunting and fishing destinations, as well as flying to Mexico with friends and his wife, Sadie.

Hod married Sadie Deveny on June 29, 1947. Together they raised five children; Colleen (born in Miles City, Montana), Kelly (born in Billings, Montana), Ellen, Tim (both born in Kodiak, Alaska) and Lee (born in Oakland, California).

After Hod’s retirement from Ciba Geigy, he and Sadie moved to Ennis, Montana, where they made many wonderful friends. Hod’s love of fly fishing, hunting, ranching and farming and Ennis’s abundance of those particular loves was a daily source of joy to him. Hod enjoyed helping his neighbors with ranch and farm work. He spent many happy, contented hours fly fishing the waters of his neighborhood river, the Madison, as well as fishing Montana’s lakes, rivers, streams and creeks throughout his life. While in Ennis, Hod was president of the Ennis Rodeo Association, a Montana state brand inspector and was actively involved in the Ennis chapter of the VFW. In July 2016, Hod was honored by the Ennis VFW with a Quilt of Valor for his service to our country.

In August 1986, Hod married Kay Zent in Ennis Montana. They enjoyed twenty years in Ennis before moving to Hysham, Montana in 2006. While in Hysham, both Hod and Kay were avid fans and supporters of youth sports. During these years, in addition to traveling throughout Montana, and to Florida and Alaska, they spent winters in California. Hod especially enjoyed the San Francisco Bay Area, the Monterey area, and Morro Bay, California.

Hod was a prodigious reader, a supporter of Notre Dame, Navy and Raider football, and a lifetime fly fisherman and hunter. He was proud of his Irish heritage, and he was blessed with both a sharp Irish wit and a quintessential Irish sense of humor.

Hod was predeceased by his first wife, Sadie, and his son Tim. He is survived by his sister, Martha Balestra; his wife of thirty years Kay O’Donnell and her three children: Barbara, Joel and Casey; his children-daughters: Ellen O’Donnell and Colleen (Tim) Spafford, sons: Kelly and Lee O’Donnell; and his grandchildren, Patrick, Timothy, Deveny and Madeline. In addition, Hod is survived by his dear friends Bennie & Gary Clark and Gale & Danette Clark.

A Funeral Mass will be held on Tuesday August 16, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Hysham, Montana. Rite of Committal will be held in the Hysham Memorial Vale Cemetery following the Mass. Please join the family for a meal at the church after the burial. Stevenson and Sons Funeral Home of Forsyth is assisting the family with arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the St. Joseph Catholic Church in Hysham or to a charity of one’s choice.