Gay J.'s Story
OTTUMWA - Gay J. Donnelly, 88, formerly of 626 S. Davis St. died at 7:14 a.m. January 22, 2017 at the Good Samaritan Society - Ottumwa.
He was born July 15, 1928 at home on Milner St. in Ottumwa to Gay P. and Birdie Mae McCarty Donnelly. He married the love of his life, Martha L. Reeb October 17, 1948 in Jackson, MI. She preceded him in death on February12, 2007.
A graduate of Ottumwa High School in 1946, he then enlisted in the U.S. Army. Upon completion of his military service he attended Iowa Success School. Through the persistence of his older brother, Dwight, he took a civil service exam, and followed his brothers and father and became an employee of U.S. Postal Service. After serving many positions in the postal system he retired after 30 years, in the position of accountant in1980. After retirement he worked as a payroll clerk for a company that was involved in the building of the power plant in Chillicothe. He drove a bus for various companies including school buses through the years and he sold Bullock garages for a few years.
He was a man of varied interests and a man of vast knowledge. He always enjoyed gardening and he took the master gardening course offered through Iowa State Extension and became a master gardener. He also was a Boy Scout as a child and a Boy Scout leader for Troup #26 which he truly enjoyed. He was so very proud of the young men that he was involved with through the years. Several of the young men earned the rank of Eagle Scout. They also had a great deal of respect for him, and remained in contact with him through the years.
When his children were young he was involved with horses and became a very meticulous self taught farrier. He spent many enjoyable times sitting on the back of his horse, "Sir Rajah". He purchased Rajah as a young colt and he saw the potential of a horse that was just perfect for him to enjoy.
He passed on his interest of history to his children and grandchildren. He was always pleased to receive a book as a gift. He always had a couple of crossword puzzle books that he would be working on, and filling in the answers with his very neat and unique left handed penmanship. His legacy will be remembered as a man who loved his family, and a family that adored him. He definitely was an Irishman, and he was very proud of his Irish heritage. He had the Irish gift of storytelling, and the countless memories and stories will be remembered and treasured by his family.
He was a member of the Willard Street United Methodist Church, having served as adult Sunday school teacher for a few years. He also was a member of BPO Elks Lodge #347 and the Republican National Committee.
Surviving are four daughters, Kathleen (Ralph) Swann of Stockton, CA, Eileen (Greg) Weller and Colleen (Brad) Todd both of Ottumwa and Jeanine (Jeff) Owens of Oskaloosa; one son, Brian Donnelly (Amy Day) of Andover, KS and 15 grandchildren; 22 great -grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by a granddaughter, Loretta LeAnn Brown and two brothers, Kermit P. Donnelly Sr. and Dwight M. Donnelly Sr.
Funeral services will be held Monday, January 30, 2017 at 10 a.m. at Reece Funeral Home with Pastor Gary Brooks officiating. Burial will be in Shaul Cemetery.
Visitation will begin at 11 a.m. Sunday, January 29, 2017 with the family present from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Pallbearers will be grandsons and great-grandsons, Aaron Swann, Derrick Skinner, Sean Owens, Braden Donnelly, Drake Handling and Dalton Handling.
Memorials may be made to Good Samaritan Society Hospice or St. Joseph's Indian Reservation.
Published on January 25, 2017