Marilyn M. Houlette O’Donnell, of Lakewood, PA, died after a long struggle with diabetes on Thursday, January 2, 2013. She was 75.
Born in Beaver Falls, PA, Marilyn lived in both Pennsylvania and Virginia throughout her life. She attended Mount Gallitzin Academy in Baden, PA, and Providence Hospital’s School of Nursing in Beaver Falls, PA. Following graduation, she worked as an RN in the ER and maternity ward, later providing home-based medical care to the elderly. In addition to her career as a care-giver, her enduring passion for antiques led her to refinish and sell pieces over the course of several decades, and she ultimately owned and operated two successful antique shops in Leesburg, VA. At all times, Marilyn was a generous (and often anonymous) philanthropist, with particular interests in child-, education-, health- and Catholic-related causes.
Above all else, Marilyn was a nurturing, caring and devoted wife and mother. For an elegant woman who never imbibed, she chuckled at the irony of meeting her future husband, Justin C. O’Donnell, in a club and later contracting liver disease as a complication of the diabetes. They married in 1959 and together had 7 children and 14 grandchildren. Over the years, to accommodate their growing family and zest for entertaining their many friends, Marilyn and Justin designed and constructed four homes, the last and most cherished of which were their lake-front properties in Lake Underwood, PA, where they happily retired in 1996.
Survived by Justin and all of her children and grandchildren, Marilyn will be dearly missed. Her memorial service was private and a tribute with family is planned for the Spring.
Memorial donations may be made in Marilyn’s name to Hospice of the Sacred Heart at 600 Baltimore Drive, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702 or http://www.hospicesacredheart.org/donations/.