Folsom Funeral Service

O’Donnell, Eugene J.

76 of Westwood, formally New Seabury, died peacefully January 10, 2023. Beloved husband of Rebecca for 52 years. Devoted father of Jennifer and her husband Bob of Westwood, Terrence R. and his wife Mae of Singapore, and Daniel and his wife Gina of Dallas, TX. Loving grandfather of Caitlyn, Jack, Jonathan, Colby, Dylan and Cricket.

Gene is survived by his brother, Terrence J. and his wife Len of Springfield, his mother-in-law, Janet, of Essex Junction, VT, his nieces, Mary Kay & Samantha, his nephews, Tod, Eric, Alexander & Christopher, his sisters-in-law Donna, Polly & Laura, and his brothers-in-law, Harald & Ray. Gene was predeceased by his father, Terrence S., his mother, Helen, and his father-in-law, Richard.

Gene grew up in Holyoke, graduated from the University of Vermont (BA) and The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College (MBA). He met Rebecca at UVM. Gene honorably served as an officer in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War and in the U.S. Army Reserve thereafter. 

Gene built a successful career in the retail industry, beginning at Zayre, advancing to executive positions at Hills Department Stores, Service Star/True Value and Office Max. He belonged to many trade organizations, served on several company boards and was a frequent speaker at national conventions. He was a whiz with numbers, serving him well before computers were widely available in day-to-day job functions.

Gene and Rebecca raised their three children in Westwood. Despite the heavy travel demands of his job, Gene never missed an important event in his children’s lives. He regularly coached their little league baseball and basketball teams, and, most impressively, was always home for dinner when he was not out of town on a business trip. 

Summers were spent on Cape Cod, where he was a member of The Club at New Seabury. Following Gene’s retirement, New Seabury became their primary residence. Winters were spent in New York City, enjoying the theater, museums, restaurants and film.

Retirement did not suit him. He succumbed to the urge to work again and co-founded the O’Donnell Art Gallery at the Popponesset Marketplace with Rebecca. Gene spent countless hours in the gallery while listening to the Sox on the radio.

Gene had a lifelong love of sports beginning in childhood when his dad and brother took him to Boston Red Sox games. He became a diehard Boston sports fan faithfully following the Red Sox, Celtics and Patriots. He even dreamed of becoming a sports announcer. Golfing was his passion – oftentimes playing every day with his long-time golf group friends. He played softball with business associates and developed a wicked wiffleball pitch for backyard family games. Running (in particular around the Central Park Reservoir), swimming, tennis, an early morning or after dinner walk were part of his repertoire. He also loved relaxing at the beach with a good book.

Gene’s best party tricks were being able to name the city and state of every college in the U.S. and recalling random statistics from the back of baseball cards from the 1950’s and 1960’s (unfortunately his mother threw away his entire baseball card collection when he went away to college).

Home and family were most important to Gene. He cherished time with his kids and grandkids, with the side effect of imparting his sports neuroses on the rest of the family. He will be deeply missed by family and friends, even his relentless pessimism about the Red Sox’s performance!

The O’Donnell family would like to thank all of Gene’s caregivers, especially those at Orchard Cove and Hebrew SeniorLife Hospice Care. Their dedication and compassionate care provided comfort to Gene and gave great peace to his family.

A Celebration of Life will be held Thursday, January 19, 2023, at Folsom Funeral Services, 649 High Street, Westwood, MA 02090, 10am gathering with family, 11am service. The visitation and service will be live streamed and may be viewed at or a recorded version may be viewed starting later in the day.

In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made in memory of Eugene O’Donnell to Hebrew SeniorLife, Development Department, 1200 Centre Street, Boston, MA 02131 or via

Guestbook Entries

  1. Rod and Carla Ely
    January 13th, 2023 | 4:14 pm

    Dear Becky and family,
    We are saddened to hear of Gene’s death. We will remember him fondly and send our heartfelt condolences to all of you.

  2. Lorraine Butler
    January 13th, 2023 | 10:17 pm

    He is now resting in peace

  3. John Houghton
    January 14th, 2023 | 9:10 pm

    I was sad to read about Gene’s passing. I’ve many great memories of Gene and Becky from New Seabury. My thoughts are with Your entire Family.
    John Houghton

  4. Ray and Laura Sibley
    January 15th, 2023 | 8:44 am

    May he rest in peace.

  5. Paul and Susan Condrin
    January 15th, 2023 | 12:51 pm

    Dear Rebecca and family,

    We are so sorry to learn of Gene’s passing. Gene was very kind and welcoming to us when we bought our home in New Seabury. We had many conversations at the Gallery and along Shore Drive W when our paths crossed. Our deepest sympathy to all of you.

  6. Gerald Ducharme
    January 15th, 2023 | 2:53 pm

    Gene…rest in peace. Will always remember the great times we had in high school and college years.
    Condolences to Becky and entire family.

Sign the Guestbook

Folsom Funeral Service

Folsom Funeral Service