Only Indianapolis native to survive USS Indianapolis attack has died

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The only person from the city of Indianapolis to survive the attack on the USS Indianapolis has died.

Jimmy O’Donnell passed Wednesday afternoon.

O’Donnell was also a beloved firefighter for IFD for many years.

He served in the navy when he was drafted in 1944. It was the sinking of the ship in 1945 that brought him back to the city loved.

He is survived by his wife, Mary Alice, whom he has been married to for 70 years.

O’Donnell was 91.


  • Hope Daupert

    Awww so sad….I will miss talking to him at the Irish Festival….rest in peace, you were a true hero!

  • Debbie

    Rest in peace dear dear sir. Thank you for your service to our country as well as the city of Indianapolis.

  • Keith B

    Sad to see the old vets pass on. If you don't know the history behind that mission and what had happened, it's worth reading about. What's even sadder as time goes on these old memories and stories become lost, and our school systems now teach nothing about this time period. It's a real shame because that generation will always be the "Greatest Generation". I would also like to say congratulations to both of them for being married for 70 years, truly remarkable, and something seldom seen anymore. Thanks again for a job well done, you'll be missed Jim O'Donnell, may you rest in peace.

    Keith B/Fishers, IN

  • Robert Stevens

    Rest in peace my old friend! I met you many years ago and we each took A (shine) to each other. It had been too many years since we spoke… You will truly be missed by many. You were and always will be a True American Hero!!!! God bless you and all of your surviving family. Your friend Robert Stevens

  • Wayne C

    I had the honor of meeting Jimmy a couple times. He let me interview him for a report I had to give in high school once. I even have a leather bookmark and Indianapolis hat that he signed. His story truly inspired me. Indianapolis has lost a hero today.

  • Brandy W

    I had the pleasure of meeting Jimmy several times and he was such a sweet man!! This makes me want to get out my USS Indianapolis book that he autographed for me and read it again. RIP JImmy and prayers to your family!!

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