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News from the Hill January 04, 2012 | back to index

Former Dean of Students and Emeritus Faculty member Joe O’Donnell dies


It is with great sadness and a profound sense of loss that I share with you that our former Dean of Students and Emeritus Faculty member Joe O’Donnell died Sunday night. His service touched the lives of hundreds of students and he continued to be a great friend of the school. After participating in his long-standing theological study group he was seen walking on the campus he loved so much just a few days before his death.

Joe grew up in Lowell, where he was a member of the First United Baptist Church. It was there he received his call to ministry. He has served American Baptist churches in Haverhill, Weston, and Winchester. In each he was known for his creative leadership and his ability to work with troubling situations in a manner that enabled persons to move ahead and in ways that brought people together.

Joe also served at Andover Newton Theological School, where he was elected as Dean of Students, Director of Continuing Education, Emeritus when he retired. In retirement he served ANTS as an adjunct faculty member teaching Baptist History and Polity and Interim Ministry.

Joe also served as Interim Minister of several churches with insight into how to address conflict situations.
He was the first recipient of the Daniel Sharp Award for Excellence in Ministry from the Conference of Baptist Ministers in Massachusetts.

Some of his other accomplishments are:

  • Dean of the Youth Conference held in Ocean Park, Maine.
  • A member of the Board of Directors of the Ocean Park Association
  • A member of the Board of Directors of the Pines
  • One of the authors of the current procedures for Ordination in the American Baptist churches of Massachusetts
  • A member of the Pastoral Settlement Committee
  • A member of the Task Force that designed and led the first training sessions for Interim Ministry for American Baptists in Massachusetts

Joe and his wife, Hazel are members of the First Baptist Church of Newton Centre.

The service to honor his life will be held at 1:30 pm this Saturday, January 7 at the First Baptist Church in Newton. There will be no calling hours, but there will be a time to greet the family following the service.  The church is located at 848 Beacon Street, Newton Centre, MA. It is on the corner of Centre and Beacon Streets. The church's parking lot can be accessed off Centre Street.
Letters and cards can be sent to Hazel in care of Lasell Village, 130A Seminary Ave., Auburndale, MA 02466.

Nick Carter