O’Donnell, Jane R. (Rankin), 93, died on August 23, 2020. Born in Washoe, MT, she was a daughter of the late John and Delilah (Green) Rankin.
Jane died peacefully at home in the care of her family. She was the wife of the late Thomas F. O’Donnell, Jr. of Providence, RI. Tom and Jane were married in 1948 at St. Joseph’s Church in Pascoag, RI and enjoyed 65 years of loving partnership. They enjoyed each other’s company immensely, golfing, traveling, but gaining the most pleasure by far from raising and then tending to their growing family until Tom died at the age of 90 in April 2013. Jane continued on in her Fruit Hill, North Providence home which she and Tom purchased in 1953. She lived there independently and in relatively good health until shortly before her death.
Jane was a warm, vibrant, funny, and compassionate woman; a friend and trusted confidante to her family and those who were fortunate to know her. “Sparkly” and “magical” were perhaps the most common adjectives applied to her. She stayed curious and engaged to the end of her life. She was smart, well-informed, and was a voracious reader of novels; she took great delight in receiving personal phone calls from the North Providence Library about the arrivals of her book orders. She was proud of standing up for herself as a competent and capable woman in the work environments of the late sixties and seventies and considered herself an early feminist. In her position as Administrative Director of Admitting at Lady of Fatima Hospital (she retired in 1991), she put to use her gifts as a communicator: clear and reassuring for the public, while strong, fair, and caring with her staff. She is fondly remembered there still. She had a ready laugh and was the best possible and most appreciative audience for her husband’s relentless and often silly humor. She was a born storyteller, recounting tales from her own life which began in a small coal mining town outside Red Lodge, Montana, and she held her many grandchildren enthralled with imaginative tales that she would make up on the spot. What people took to be “magical” was that she was animated by love and an essential joy; and though these were tried, as with all of us they usually are, they never went away. People loved Jane O’Donnell. It was not unusual for strangers to approach her, in the supermarket, or in the garden center at Lowes, and want to make some kind of contact with her, they were drawn to her, this beautiful older woman with the sparkly blue eyes. She would laugh about it later and shake her head. She will be missed.
Jane is survived by five children, Christine McElroy (Michael), Jane Ceccofiglio (David), Cathleen Brock (John), Thomas O’Donnell III (Donna Lubrano), and John O’Donnell (Diane), 12 grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, and her sister, Beatrice Gostelli. She was the sister of the late Elizabeth Kaczynski, Marion Unsworth and John, Alexander, and Thomas Rankin.
Visitation will be held on Tuesday, September 1, 2020 from 11 am – 12 Noon in the Robbins Funeral Home, 2251 Mineral Spring Ave., North Providence. Social distancing guidelines will be in effect and masks will be required. Services and burial will be private, but will be livestreamed on the Robbins Funeral Home Facebook page on Tuesday at 12 Noon. https://www.facebook.com/Robbins-Funeral-Home-125239184197750
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
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