Terrence Edmund O’Donnell long time resident of Redfield, South Dakota, recently of Sheridan, Wyoming died of natural causes at age 93 in the Sheridan County Memorial Hospital on December 31, 2010 at 3:30 p.m.
Terry, eldest son of William Howard and Laura Edna (Todd) O’Donnell was born on the family farm near Chelsea, South Dakota on May 7, 1917. His earliest remembrances were of driving teams of horses while helping out on the farm.
After graduating from Warner High School in 1936, Terry accepted the invitation of the U.S. Government and joined the Civilian Conservation Corps, working out of the Tigerville Camp and Mitchell Lake Camp (both near Hill City). In October, 1939, Terry enlisted in the United States Army and was sent to Fort Abraham Lincoln, near Bismarck, ND for his initial training. Subsequently, he was assigned to a tank destroyer battalion of the 3rd Infantry Division stationed in Ft. Lewis, Washington. During his career in the military, Terry served as a drill instructor until being accepted into the Officer Candidate School. After being commissioned a 2nd Lt of infantry, Terry graduated from parachute school and became an instructor and eventually a Jumpmaster at the Parachute School in Ft. Benning, GA. During his time at Ft. Benning, GA, in 1944, Terry met and married Ruth Royals and to this union, two sons Terry Allen and Harold William (Bill) were born. Terry and Ruth were later divorced.
After WW II, with his new wife and infant son, Terry returned to the Warner area and resumed farming both with his own property and with his father until an opportunity presented itself in the Redfield area. Terry was employed for many years at the Spink County Dairy, Cass-Clay Dairy and the Redfield State Hospital and School.
After retiring from the State Hospital, Terry turned his attention full-time to the family farm and to the creation of a new enterprise, O’Donnell Hydraulic Service. Here he could showcase his talent as a builder and as one who could repair most anything mechanical. This ability to repair things was most useful as his two boys were quite adept at breaking equipment. He could repair the machinery just as fast as the boys could break it. He loved to design and build things to be used on the farm. His greatest love, however, was the herd of Black Angus cattle that he nurtured over the years.
Terry had a soft spot in his heart for those who were less fortunate than himself. This is evidenced by his many years of involvement with the old Association for Retarded Children. He was one of the individuals involved in urging the Redfield Public School to place a special education room on site. To further illustrate his commitment to others, Terry was a 50 year member of the local Masonic Lodge, the Oddfellows Lodge and the American Legion. Still with others in mind and as a voracious reader, Terry accumulated and subsequently donated several hundred books on the formation of the United States, Constitutional history, war history of the United States and the history of the American West. Terry spent many hours and traveled many miles searching out the historic sites involved in the Plains Indian war period. The love of learning was an attribute that he possessed and passed on to his family.
Terry was hard at work up until his muscles and eyesight failed him. His passion then was recorded books. Anything to keep thinking and to keep his mind busy were daily activities until his last day.
Terry is survived by his two sons, Terry Allen (Vangie) of Marion, Indiana, and Bill (Linda) of Buffalo, Wyoming; four grand children, Tim and Terra of Marion, Indiana Carrie Cook, Sheridan, Wyoming and Kathy of Billings, Montana; and eleven great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, infant sister (Lois) and brother (Kenneth); infant great grand child Brandon Christopher Cook.
Still with others in mind, Terry had made arrangements to donate his body to the medical school in the University of South Dakota. A memorial service will be at a later date. Arrangements are with Champion Ferries Funeral Home.