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    LB Says Farewell, Salutes LBPD Sgt. Tim O'Donnell

    (February 24, 2004, updated) -- St. Joseph Church in ELB was filled beyond overflowing as LB gave a heartfelt farewell and salute to LBPD Sgt. Tim O'Donnell, who passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on Feb. 18 at age 36.

    Sgt. Tim O'DonnellLB Police Officers assembled in file, stood at attention, and saluted as bagpipes sounded.

    Sgt. Tim O'Donnell

    Sgt. Tim O'Donnell

    The church overflowed with family, friends, co-workers and dignitaries including (not a complete list) LB Mayor Beverly O'Neill, former LBPD Chief Jerome Lance, Assemblyman Alan Lowenthal and Councilmembers Bonnie Lowenthal, Dennis Carroll, Jackie Kell and Laura Richardson.

    Those attending filled and overflowed the main church. The adjacent St. Joseph gymnasium was also at standing room only level where a closed circuit video feed of the service was provided. Roughly a thousand people are believed to have attended.

    We quote below excerpts of the eulogies:

    Wife Tamara O'Donnell: Dear Tim:

    Thank you for being the best husband and father in the world. Tim, you always treated me like a queen and put my needs, and [children] Kelly and James' needs, above your own. You have provided us with such a wonderful and loving home. No matter how tired or busy you were, you would always make time for us and made us feel so loved.

    The loving example you set for Kelly and James has already been reflected in their personalities. Last night, Kelly reminded me so much of you. She came up to me and wiped a tear from my eye and asked me what she could do to cheer me up...

    People were drawn to your charisma and natural ability to lead. You always gave 110% to your family, career and everything you ever set out to accomplish.

    I promise to instill your strong work ethic and values to Kelly and James and raise them as we had planned.

    Most of all, thank you for your strong faith in God, and your ability to see the positive in any situation.

    Whenever someone had passed away, you would comfort me and remind me not to be scared, that they were with God, and that they were in a happier place. Your faith has brought us so much comfort and is helping us cope with losing you...

    Brother Patrick O'Donnell: On behalf of my family, I would like to thank you for being here today to celebrate the life of my brother, Tim...

    I should note that on the night my brother passed away, the first officer to make it to the hospital was Chief Batts. We thank you. My family wants you to know, Chief, that the support we have received from your department was beyond words.

    On behalf of my family, I would like to thank Tamama. She was Tim's biggest cheerleader and gave him two wonderful children that will always allow us to be reminded of Tim...

    I would like to thank my parents, for raising their children to be close and strong...

    ...I don't need to tell you that family came first in my brother's life. There is a badge and one of his batons with a shamrock carved into it. He and his sidekick, Tommy Keleher, had these made. I believe there's only two on the department that exist...

    And there's one more person I need to thank, and that's lived a life to be proud of.

    Brother Daniel O'Donnell, III: ...He was a special man, a special man. My brother had a great compassion for others...

    ...There's a lot of things I'll miss, but there's more that I'll cherish...It's the end of a dream...Tim was a shooting star. He accomplished a lot. He did a lot. He affected a lot of people...

    ...I went and saw Tim yesterday...I took a picture of Kelly and James and I placed it in his hands, and his hands will always be on it...

    LB Police Officers Ass'n Pres. Lt. Steve James: ...As a result of Tim's desire to help others, it came as no surprise to me when he decided to run for the Board of Directors of the [Police Officers] Association. He truly wanted to help make the Department as good as it could possibly be...

    Tim had his priorities straight. His family was always number one...His actions truly spoke louder than words...He loved his family and showed it daily through in his actions...

    [He was highly ranked on the Department's] Lieutenant's list...a virtual guarantee that he would be promoted [which] he truly deserved. I have with me the Lieutenant's bars that were given to me by Chief Batts when I was recently promoted.

    Lt. James presents Lt. stripes to Tamara O'DonnellTamara, I want you to have these...and to explain to Kelly and James that their father would have been a Lieutenant...

    [Lt. James presents Tamara O'Donnell with the Lieutenant stripes, photo right.]

    LBPD Chief Anthony Batts: ...[H]ow humble, how caring, how sensitive, how kind and gentle Tim was, and is. He cared for people. He was a genuinely caring man...He hurt. He was a sensitive man.

    ...Tim has left a wonderful legacy. His children, his wife, his siblings, his parents. And we should remember him through them.

    Sgt. Tim O'Donnell: a man of passion. A man of courage. A man of honor.

    I am proud to have worked with him.

    Gary Kramer: We're all trying to make sense of this thing. We're angry. I know I am, and it's OK to be. It's not fair.

    But I'll tell you. Tim lived by the Golden Rules. He loved God. He loved his fellow man. He loved God with his whole heart, mind and soul, and he treated his fellow man with love, and respect, and that's what he received back.

    Now the Good Lord will occasionally put into our presence a special person. And that person is Tim. A person who shines. A person who God lends to us as an example of how to live, to love, how to be a good father, a good husband, a loving son, a loving brother and a best friend to many...

    He gave of himself without ever asking what is in it for me. The true tragedy of this would have been if he had never been born...

    ...To say Tim was a wonderful father was almost trivial. He was an exceptional father. When he saw his children, his eyes lit up. And when his children saw him walk through the door, Dad, oh just look in their faces...

    I know he is in heaven now with his brother James and with a lot of our dearly departed he's with...He is missed, but thank God this remarkable man has touched our lives...and he's left the best part of himself here with Tamara, with two beautiful children, Kelly and James...

    Sister Kathleen O'Donnell: I just quickly want to share the Irish blessing that Tim enjoyed:

    May the road rise up to meet you.
    May the wind be always at your back.
    May the sun shine warm upon your face, the rains soft upon your fields.
    And until we meet again, may the Lord hold you in the palm of his hand.

    Sgt. Tim O'Donnell

    Sgt. O'Donnell, a 12 year LBPD veteran, was in charge of LB's Marine Patrol.

    He is survived by his wife, their children ages 4 and 2, his parents, a sister, two brothers and a sister in law.

    Sgt. O'Donnell's brother Patrick O'Donnell is in the midst of challenging the incumbent for the 4th district City Council seat.

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