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Diane Patricia O’Donnell, 79

Born: Aug. 21, 1942, in Chicago

Died: Feb. 12, 2022

Diane Patricia O’Donnell is survived by her husband, Sean O’Donnell; children, Sheila O’Donnell, Roisin (Xavier) Herrera, Mary (Anthony) Keisling, Patrick (Heidi) O’Donnell, Daniel O’Donnell, and Brendan (Nikki) O’Donnell; grandchildren, Natalia, Maximilian, Mario, and Oliver Herrera, Michael, Sean, Maureen, Liam, and Nicholas Keisling, Francesco, Anna, Sean, and Grace O’Donnell; siblings, Cheryl Hofweber, Thomas (MaryBeth) Smith, and Jeffrey (Robert Rodi) Smith; and sister-in-law JoAnn Smith.She was preceded in death by her parents, Gerald M. Smith, Sr. and Marjorie H. Smith, and her daughter, Maureen Patricia O’Donnell; brother, Gerald M. Smith, Jr.; and sister-in-law, Colleen Poleski.

Diane lived in Chicago until 1951 when her family moved to Woodstock. She was a student of St. Mary Catholic School and went to Marian Central Catholic High School, where she was voted prom queen her senior year. She received her teaching degree from St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame. After teaching first grade in Barrington, Ill,, she met her love, Sean O’Donnell, while vacationing in Kilcar, County Donegal, Ireland. Three years later, they were married at St. Mary Catholic Church on June 24, 1967. During the course of their marriage, they built a home together, had seven children and 13 grandchildren. After raising her children, Diane went back to education as the director of religious education at St. Mary’s Catholic Parish in Woodstock, where she guided children in their faith for nearly 20 years. Her own faith was her guiding light throughout her life, a value which she has passed on to her children and grandchildren. 
She adored her grandchildren and enjoyed playing the ultimate Mrs. Claus at Christmas, delighting them on birthdays, swimming in the pool with them in the backyard, or taking them to Lake Lawn Lodge in Delevan, Wis. She often said, “Grandchildren are the frosting on the cake of life.” 
She was very passionate about Catholicism and her job as D.R.E., where she enjoyed creating fun and unique experiences for her students such as “Ring Around the Rosary Mystery Theatre” and “Round ’Em Up for Jesus” themed vacation bible school. 
She adored traveling, especially to her husband Sean’s hometown of Kilcar in Ireland, and she loved cruises and spring getaways in Florida because the ocean feels like “bath water.” She recently had the joy of visiting Fatima, Lourdes, and the Holy Land. She was happiest when she was with her family near a body of water with a glass of wine in her hand. 
She was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of lung cancer less than two weeks before dying peacefully, surrounded by her family at home. 
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Vincent De Paul Society at St. Mary Catholic Church 312 Lincoln Ave., Woodstock, IL 60098 
Visitation will be at Schneider,- Leucht, Merwin & Cooney Funeral Home at 1211 N. Seminary Ave., Woodstock, IL 60098 on Wednesday, Feb. 16, from 4 to 8 p.m., with a prayer service from 6 to 6:30 p.m. 
The funeral Mass will be held on Thursday, Feb. 17, at 10:30 a.m. at St. Mary Catholic Church, 312 Lincoln Ave., Woodstock, IL 60098

For information, contact the funeral home at 815-338-1710 or visit

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