Rev. Fulton Patrick O’Donnell, 69, passed away on September 13, 2022. Known as “Bunch,” “Pops,” “Dad,” “Pop Pop,” and “Deacon Pat,” Pat was a husband to Martha for 48 years and father to his three children Kate, Kelley, and James. He was a graduate of Wharton at the University of Pennsylvania, a Captain in the Marine Corps, a management consultant, a Deacon in the Catholic Church, and a member of the Osage Nation. He is survived by his beloved wife, his children and their spouses, his grandchild, and four siblings.
Childhood sweethearts from McLean, Virginia, Pat and Martha were married for 48 years. Theirs was a marriage built on faith, devotion, and adventure. They loved traveling together, visiting more than thirty countries and living abroad for 19 years. Pat savored dreaming up, preparing, and enjoying delicious food with Martha–whether it was a perfectly constructed sandwich from the “O’Donnell Family Bar and Grille” repertoire, his famous barbecue chicken, delectable flank steak, or a dish he discovered from one of the cooking shows they enjoyed watching together.
Pat was a proud father, providing his children with boundless opportunities and always encouraging them to do their absolute best. When they were younger, he loved reading aloud to them, particularly the Chronicles of Narnia; and he found great joy in playing make-believe games with them, such as Mr. Schnicklemeyer and Dr. Demento. In and out of their earshot, he reveled in their experiences and shared their accomplishments widely. He was beloved by many of his children’s friends, remembered for engaging them in meaningful conversations and for spontaneously breaking out into any and every song from the catalogs of Frank Zappa, The Who, and Pink Floyd. He created a space for teenagers to learn, grow, and make mistakes while treating them with dignity and respect. Later in life, he and Martha enjoyed a “second act” in parenting, hosting five exchange students from South Korea who quickly became a chosen family. Pat also absolutely cherished his role as “Pop Pop” to his granddaughter Selene.
A man of deep faith, Pat was ordained as a Deacon in the Catholic Church at St. Francis Church in England in June, 2000. Both in England and in Virginia, he served parishioners and loved ones, celebrating the sacraments and supporting many in their faith journeys.
Pat was a Renaissance man, a quick learner with many hobbies: woodworking and building furniture, drumming, target practice, cars, language, astronomy, and mechanics. His greatest hobby when his children were younger was baseball: countless weekends featured playing catch and hotbox in the yard with his children; and he was the proud commissioner of the Brussels Sports Association, known as much for the way his home plate brush distinctly resembled his mustache as he was for his animated umpire calls and striped tube socks. Later in life, his greatest hobby became spending time with his granddaughter. Whether making personal pizzas, playing Sorry and Apples to Apples, or exchanging “bops on the beezer,” he found tremendous joy in spending time with his “Sel-Belle.”
Pat was many things to many people. He will especially be remembered for being a lifelong student, equally of the logical as the absurd; being a gracious host and a grateful guest; for his ability to sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in multiple languages; the personalized hats and shirts he delighted in giving his family; his love of sharing desserts with everyone at the table; his trademark hat; the twinkle in his eye right before he made a clever joke; and his unwavering commitment to his core values of faith, duty, and generosity.
A Christian wake service will occur on Thursday, September 22, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. A Mass of the Resurrection will be held on Friday, September 23, 2022 at 10:30 a.m. Both will occur at St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Powhatan, VA. A reception at the church hall will follow.