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KO Teacher, CUP Beneficiary Shawn O'Donnell Succumbs to Cancer

A married father of four young children, O'Donnell was diagnosed with cancer last spring.

After battling inoperable liver and colon cancer since last May, died Tuesday afternoon.

A married father of four who was a longtime School, O’Donnell, 44, and his family were the a nonprofit dedicated to helping local families.

O’Donnell was present as his Pinehurst neighborhood took the CUP’s trophy during the nonprofit’s annual August softball tournament. The fundraiser features different neighborhoods and local businesses competing against each other.

On that day, the O'Donnell family, including O’Donnell’s wife, Tina, and their children, Nathan, Alex, Brayden and Mia, received a standing ovation as they arrived at Cranberry Community Park on a .

As he spoke to the cheering crowd, O'Donnell shared the life lessons he had learned since being diagnosed with cancer. Among them were to always say "please" and "thank you," to tell your loved ones how much you care about them, and not to dwell on the small things.

"I know I sound like I'm preaching, and I do apologize, but be appreciative of what you have," he said as he briefly choked up. "You never know how much you love something until it can be taken away." 

CUP founder Cathy Cortazzo also remembered how O’Donnell's eyes filled with tears as he expressed to her his gratitude for the friends and strangers who came out to support him at the tournament.

“He was so appreciative his children would have those memories,” Cortazzo said.

She called Shawn and his wife courageous and inspiring people who remained positive throughout O’Donnell's battle with cancer.

“He was so very sincere and loving,” Cortazzo said. “Tina is just unbelievable for how strong she is.” 

Viewings for O'Donnell will be from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at Devlin Funeral Home in Cranberry, according to the Cranberry CUP. Mass will be at 10 a.m. Monday at St. Killian Catholic Church in Cranberry.

Cortazzo said tax-deductible contributions to the O’Donnell family may be made through Cranberry CUP. For more information, visit the CUP’s website.

Patch wants to give the community a chance to post condolences and prayers for the O’Donnell family. Please show support or share memories in the comments section.

Christina Staab November 23, 2011 at 02:11 PM
We <3 you, OD. We'll never forget you.
Joseph M. Costanzo November 23, 2011 at 03:02 PM
May God have mercy on his soul and give you and your family the strength to get through this very sad time in your lives. God Bless you and your family.
Jenn Greer November 23, 2011 at 03:08 PM
Rest in Peace, you touched the lives of so many people and believed the best in people when no one else did. Prayers go out to your friends & family during this difficult time. You will NEVER be forgotten.
teresa caprio November 23, 2011 at 03:32 PM
Eternal rest, great man.
Levander Payne November 23, 2011 at 05:52 PM
R/I.P MR. OD AND THOSE I LOVE, AND THOSE WHO LOVE ME. WHEN I GONE, RELEASE ME. LET ME GO. YOU MUST NOT TIE YOURSELF TO ME WITH TEARS. BE HAPPY THAT WE HAD SO MANY YEARS. I GAVE YOU MY LOVE. YOU CAN ONLY GUESS HOW MUCH YOU GAVE ME HAPPINESS. I THANK YOU FOR THE LOVE YOU HAVE SHOWN. BUT NOW IT IS TIME TO TRAVEL ALONE...... AUTHOR UNKNOWN
Linda Boyle November 23, 2011 at 08:27 PM
Our deepest sympathy to Mr. OD's family. His first year at the high school was our oldest child's freshman year...our second child was in his class when 9/11 went down and he taught our youngest child to drive!!! That's only three of many students' lives he touched over his years at KO!!! God has another angel....the Boyle family
Becky November 24, 2011 at 01:31 AM
R.I.P. OD! I knew when I walked into his Freshman history class that OD was a different type of teacher. He was what teachers are supposed to be. He truly loved your job and his students. He taught me that I was better than what I thought of myself. It's b/c of him pushing me daily for 4 years that I graduated high school and was able to begin a path into a nursing career. Without his support it would not have happened. OD wasn't just a high school history teacher, he taught us all about life. I'm thankful for the commitments he made to us and grateful for he shared his time here with us. I can only hope that my kids will get to have teachers like him. My thoughts are with his wife, children, and family at this difficult time.
MSgt. John DeLallo November 24, 2011 at 12:27 PM
He is gone? No, not really. When men touch lives, the memory, the life lessons, the positive influence lasts for generations. Who can know when the next teacher, legislator, doctor, or for that matter a happy man driving a backhoe for the water company, inspired to excel at their trade, pays forward the debt they owe Shawn? Gone? Not really.
Sara Schrader January 06, 2012 at 12:04 AM
OD was an amazing teacher who will always be loved and never forgot. Love and miss you OD <3

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