Robert Michael O’Donnell
October 23, 1967 – September 5, 2021
Missoula -- Bob O’Donnell, 53 years old, left us all too soon on September 5 following a heart attack at the hockey rink where he spent many happy hours. Bob was born on October 23, 1967 in Holdrege, Nebraska. He attended elementary schools in Columbus, Nebraska and Salisbury, Connecticut where his love of hockey and skiing began and graduated from Northern Highlands Regional High School in Allendale, NJ where he also graduated to ski instructor. He moved to Missoula in 1989 -- in search of fresh powder and the University of Montana -- and Missoula has been his home for the past 32 years. He has run his own business for most of this time as President of Ground Solutions and ODX Inc.
Bob O’Donnell would tell you he was a simple guy. He truly enjoyed poking fun at himself and liked to say his motto was “Buy high, Sell low Bob”. When confronted with challenges over the years, he emerged not harder but more kind, generous, and understanding. “You never know what people are going through”, he would say. And he was very clear on what was important in life: spending time with his family and his friends, enjoying the outdoors and camping at Flathead Lake, skiing, playing hockey and softball with his friends, and enjoying a good laugh. He also enjoyed making music with his friends and played a mean air guitar, especially on Rush songs which is no mean feat. He loved a good conversation and his friends will tell you that he more than held up his end. It gave him great joy to usher at Saint Francis Xavier Church and also to plow the church parking lot in his purple truck with his trusty side kick, Boo, at his side and jazz or Christmas music blaring from the open window. He was all about the earth, he worked with it every day and he understood the importance of having something solid to stand on and build on. He was a salt of the earth kind of guy. Bob was an organ donor which won’t surprise anyone. He was the kind of person who would give you the shirt off his back. He would want his family and friends to know how much he loved them and then to get out there and enjoy life and appreciate each other.
Bob is survived by his fiancé and the love of his life, Trinity Houk and her children Maija and Cody Houk and two grandsons, Reed and Elijah, by his six siblings and their spouses who keenly feel the loss of their “little” brother, Daniel and Linda, Tom and Janet, Richard, Dave and Cheri, Mary Ellen, and Madalene, and by many nieces, nephews, and cousins. Bob was preceded in death by his parents, Daniel and Mary B. O’Donnell.
A celebration of Bob’s life will be held for family and friends on Saturday, September 18, 2pm at the GHL outdoor rink, 1101 South Avenue West, Missoula, MT.