Obituary for Mary Raper O'Donnell
Mary Raper O‘Donnell, 83, wife of the late Dr. Roy C. O’Donnell, passed away peacefully on December 27, 2016 in her Athens home surrounded by her loving and faithful caretakers.
A Celebration of Life service will be held Friday, January 6, 2017 at 2 p.m. at Athens First United Methodist Church with a reception immediately following in the John Wesley Parlor. Internment will be held at a later date.
The ultimate steel magnolia, Mrs. O’Donnell was born in Black Creek, NC to the late William Cecil Raper and Beulah Davis Raper on June 21, 1933. She attended Freewill Bible College in Nashville and then later obtained her teaching degree from Vanderbilt University. While attending college, she met her brother’s friend, Roy, who became the love of her life. He was quite obviously attracted to her beauty, wit and ability to accessorize, three of the characteristics which remained with her until her death. The two were married on June 10, 1954 in Snow Hill, NC. She later said that every day of their marriage he would wake her up with a cup of coffee and ask “What can I do for you today?”
In 1963, the addition of their daughter, Susan, made her family complete and also expanded O’Donnell’s sense of humor. Some of her hobbies included needlepoint, reading, and entertaining her friends, clubs, and Susan’s friends.
Prior to settling in Athens in 1972, O’Donnell lived in several college communities where she worked as a teacher at the elementary and later the post-secondary level instructing education classes. She was instrumental in doing research which helped start the Head Start program. In the classic city, she had a number of teaching assignments and became active in the community. She eventually became a Realtor working for several different local real estate companies for over 25 years.
Among other activities, she served as the Director of the Athens Board of Realtors, Auxiliary President of the Salvation Army, President of the University Women’s Club, District President of the United Methodist Women, President of Women of First Methodist Church of Athens, was a life member of the ARR Million Dollar Club, Georgia Women’s Council of Realtors (Vice President and Secretary), Athens Women’s Council, American Cancer Society Auxiliary. She also received the Phoenix Award and the President’s Award from the Board of Realtors.
Perhaps a quote in her high school yearbook about her described her best:
I’ve marched the world through and can’t seem to find
A girl so friendly A girl so kind
O’Donnell is preceded in death by her father and mother; brother, Burkett Raper; and sisters, Catherine Raper Davenport, and Nancy Jones.
O’Donnell is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Susan O’Donnell Prifti and David William Prifti, and two grandchildren, Jefferson Edward Prifti and Caroline Amelia Prifti, of Loveland, OH; her brother, James Earl Raper and his wife Doris, of Turbeville, SC; her sister-in-law, Rose Raper, of Mt. Olive, NC; David Jones, of Lovettsville, VA; Daniel and Debra Jones, of Waynesboro, PA; and Preston and Sally Taylor, of Lucama, NC.
In lieu of flowers gifts may be made to the Roy C. O'Donnell Endowed Library Fund at University of Mount Olive, Mount Olive NC, Athens First United Methodist Church or the charity of your choice. Lord & Stephens West is in charge of arrangements.www.lordandstephens.com.
The family of Mary O‘Donnell wishes to extend our sincere thanks to Caroldene Allen, Jennifer Brown, Rosa Smith, and Telesia “Lisa” Richardson for their wonderful and faithful care.