Floral 24

Gemma O'Donnell

February 22, 1932 ~ October 6, 2021 (age 89)


Gemma O’Donnell passed away on October 6, 2021 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  Originally from Panama City in the Republic of Panama, Gemma attended the U.S.-run Canal Zone schools in Panama where she met her future husband, James J. O’Donnell.  They were married and raised four children, Jim, Joe, Mary and Steve.  Gemma was a Girl Scout Leader and swimming instructor at the Balboa pool.  After her children were grown, she attended the Canal Zone Junior College and Florida State College where she earned a Masters in Library Science.  She later became an instructor at the Canal Zone Junior College teaching classes in psychology and in business writing. 

Upon her husband’s retirement, Gemma and Jim moved to St. Petersburg, Florida.  Gemma took great pleasure in her garden and in volunteering in the community.  She was named Woman of the Year by the St. Petersburg YWCA for her community service.  She also taught classes in English as a second language to various communities and in particular is well-loved my members of the Vietnamese immigrant community for her support.  A great sadness from Gemma was that she was pre-deceased by all three of her beloved sons, Jim, Joe, and Steve.

Gemma is survived by her husband, James O’Donnell of St. Petersburg, her daughter Mary Olivella of California, her daughter-in-law, Francia Olmos of Panama, her brothers William Wright of Arizona and Cale Wright of New York, and her much loved caretaker, Louis Gaines of St. Petersburg. 

Funeral services will be held at Bay Pines Cemetery on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 at 11:00am.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Gemma O'Donnell, please visit our floral store.


Memorial Service
October 20, 2021

11:00 AM
Bay Pines Cemetery

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