Daniel Gene O’Donnell, of Waxahachie, passed away May 13, 2020.
Gene was born in Waco, Texas, on Sept. 11, 1929. He grew up in Waxahachie, attended public schools, was a Boy Scout, and played defensive end for the Waxahachie Indian Football team. Gene graduated from Waxahachie High School in 1948.
He joined the Texas National Guard in June 1948, served through 1964 and attained the rank of 1st lieutenant and Executive Officer. He earned a bachelor of business administration degree from North Texas State University in 1952 and joined Tyler Refrigeration Corporation as chief accountant.
In 1953, Gene married Winnie Gibson of Rising Star, Texas, and later had two children, Donna and Patrick.
In 1969, he moved to Niles, Michigan, where he was promoted to Vice-President Controller and Chief Financial Officer for Tyler. The family enjoyed their time in Michigan but welcomed the opportunity to get back to Texas. In 1980, Gene relocated to Waxahachie as Vice President General Manager of Tyler Refrigeration’s Waxahachie Plant. He retired from Tyler in 1995 after 43 years of service.
Gene served in leadership positions for many civic and business organizations. During his time in Niles, he served as Vice President of the Greater Niles Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Board of Directors for First National Bank of Southwestern Michigan, President of the Tyler Junior Achievement Company, and a member of the Niles Airport Board. In Waxahachie, Gene was a Boy Scout Scoutmaster, a charter member of the Waxahachie Jaycees, and a past member of the Rotary Club. He served three years on the Waxahachie Foundation board and one year as president.
Gene was elected to the Waxahachie City Council and served three years as mayor in the 1980s. He served on the Board of Directors of Citizens National Bank of Texas from 1981 to present. Gene received the Who’s Who Award from the Waxahachie Ex-Students’ Association. He served as a director of the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce and in 1987 was named Waxahachie Outstanding Citizen of the Year along with his wife, Winnie. Gene was a member of Central Presbyterian Church.
Gene loved fishing, golf, watching high school football and talking history, especially about World War II and fighter planes.
He valued and cherished his relationships with his colleagues at Tyler Refrigeration and CNB Texas. But most of all, he enjoyed the time spent with family.
He is preceded in death by his parents Daniel Anthony and Bess O’Donnell; and grandson, Mathew Dorsey.
Gene is survived by his wife of 67 years, Winnie O’Donnell; daughter, Donna Dorsey; son, Patrick O’Donnell and wife Debbie of Waxahachie; and grandchildren, Bryan Patrick Dorsey and Elizabeth Frances Dorsey of Dallas, and Allison Taylor O’Donnell and Katherine Grace O’Donnell of Waxahachie.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the organization of your choice or The Ellis County Museum, Nicholas P. Sims Library, or Central Presbyterian Church.