Charlene O’Donnell grew up in the San Diego, Calif. area. She remembers victory gardens during World War II and the noise of air raid sirens. She graduated from high school, went on to business college and after graduation worked for several years in various city offices.
She was an above-average badminton player who loved most sports, especially tennis and horses. Becoming active in the equestrian community, Charlene raised several horses and had a few championships.
A 50-year love story began when she met and married William (Bill) O’Donnell, who managed a large California rendering company. Later, she and Bill purchased a rendering company in the Salt Lake City, Utah area, where they lived for a number of years. After he retired, they moved to Whidbey Island and were both active in community activities.
While on Whidbey, Charlene attended Skagit Valley College as a way to enhance her interest in art and writing. She was heard to say that there was never enough time to learn all she wanted to learn. She kept her interest in tennis and horsemanship all her life. Recently, she enjoyed the tennis played at “Wimbledon 21” and, of course, would never miss the “Derby.” She often knew as much about the horses as she did about the jockeys and owners and could explain each horse’s ability and any idiosyncrasy.
After losing Bill in August 2020, her health declined. Her oldest daughter, Gaylene Norris passed in March 2021. Charlene passed at home on Aug. 10, 2021. She is survived by her daughter Challise Tietjen; Challise’s much-loved husband Randy;’ eight grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.
Graveside services were held Aug. 19, 2021 at Woodmen Cemetery Langley, Wash.