Natalie  Stafford O'Donnell

Obituary of Natalie Jeanne Stafford O'Donnell

Here we are – a life well lived 

Here we are – a life dedicated to God, husband, family, friends, community

Here we are – a life supported and nurtured by God’s unfailing grace

 

As a lady of quiet strength Jeanne answered to many names: Natalie, Jeanne, Mom, Mother, Gramma, Gramma Jeanne, Great Gramma, Great Gramma Natalie.

 

Her life started in Omaha, Nebraska, born on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 1924.  She was a farm girl from the start. The youngest of six children, Jeanne walked to school with her sister and brothers, played in the cornfields, rode the family horse, and carried her little oil lamp to find her way to bed. 

 

At the age of 12, her family moved to Washington State as the Great Depression made changes in the life of her family. She lived in Ground Mound, WA with her parents, again working on “the farm”; this time it was strawberry fields instead of corn.  She graduated from Rochester High School in 1942, upon which her family moved to Bremerton, WA during World War II.  In the Bremerton Naval Ship Yards she contributed to the war effort as machinist assistant.  But something else was stirring in her.  Deep down was a dream to become a nurse. Her dream came true in December 1946 as she graduated from the Cadet Nursing program at Seattle’s Providence Hospital, as a Registered Nurse.  In this time of war and nurses training she met a sailor who was serving God and Country on the Battleship USS California.  Myles Byram O’Donnell, who would be known to all as O’D, became the “love of her life”.  They were married March 16, 1945 and never looked back. 

 

Jeanne and O’D moved to Centralia, WA where the first three of four children were born; Yvonne, Randy, and Jim.  Their next stop was Puyallup, WA where their fourth child, Karen was born.  Puyallup became home.

 

Jeanne wore many hats in her lifetime.  She was homemaker for a family of six, and then invested extra time: teaching Sunday School and being active in many facets of the First United Methodist Church, serving as PTA president and Girl Scout Leader, working as a member of the Puyallup Fair Scone concession and later as part of the Hobby Hall staff.  Through it all she was the perineal seamstress and gardener extraordinaire. Traveling about the USA and abroad were among cherished memories.  She loved sharing pictures and stories of the Holy Lands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Hawaii, New England, Louisiana, the Southwest, and the West Coast.

 

She returned to nursing in 1968 as a Registered Nurse at Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup, WA.  She retired 25 years later in what would be the capstone of a life dedicated – to love and service.

 

Jeanne loved and enjoyed the “out of doors” and spent many hours: strolling through manicured gardens, hiking, camping (in a tent), walking ocean beaches with German Shepard “Gretta”, listening to birds, gazing out her window at Mount Rainier, picnicking, and pulling up a chair at the campfire with a good cup of coffee. While camping, you could always count on seeing her in the early morning, standing at the picnic table in front of the camp stove, stirring up the pancake batter, frying the bacon and sipping her coffee.

 

And who can fathom the blessings and joy held in her heart for her seven Grand and nine Great Grandchildren!

We rejoice that she now joins her “one and only” who too soon died, November 18, 1968. 

 

Here we are – a life well lived

Here we are – a life dedicated to God, husband, family, friends and community

Here we are – a life supported and nurtured by God’s unfailing grace

 

And as Mom recently said at the end of one of our visits  – “Thank you for coming.”

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