The Henry J. O'Donnell and Sons Inc. Funeral Home was founded in 1922 by Henry J. O'Donnell Sr. in a store front on Mill Hill in the City of Salem's downtown section. The funeral home also served as a livery business, offering rental automobiles to families for weddings and special trips to Boston.
After World War II, the funeral business moved from a storefront operation into a funeral home, a first for the city of Salem, when Henry J. O'Donnell Sr. was joined by his sons, Henry Jr. and William O'Donnell. They purchased a home on the Historic Salem Common, at 46 Washington Square. Henry Sr. passed away in 1960 and in 1968, Henry Jr. was joined in business by his son, Thomas A. O'Donnell. When Henry Jr. passed away in 1970, Thomas became the owner of the Salem funeral home and refurbished the facility in 1972. Tom and his mother, Dorothy (Dunn) O'Donnell, assumed the responsibility of caring for families. They continued the traditions of other firms to entrust them to continue their heritage, such as the former MacDonald Funeral Home and The Dubiel Funeral Home both of Salem.
In 2014, The David Gonet Funeral Home business merged with The O'Donnell Funeral Home and manager Diane Gallagher joined the O'Donnell team. Diane specializes in helping the Polish community of Salem, which has a proud and rich history. Continuing the great heritages set forth by both the former Pocharski Funeral Home and the former John Greene Funeral Homes of Salem.
In 2019, the O'Donnell family purchased the former Full-Spychalski Funeral Home and began a year long renovation of their new state of the art funeral home, located at 84 Washington Square, Salem, just across the common from their former home. The new home boasts all of the technological advances today's families need, such as webcasting, digital videos and over 100 parking spaces. It is fully handicap accessible, tastefully decorated, has the largest capacity of any North Shore funeral home and is the finest funeral home in the state of Massachusetts.
The Peterson Funeral Home was established in 1957 by Robert A. and Trudy Peterson. Mr. Peterson had served his country during World War II and upon his return, began his profession in the funeral business at the former J.S. Waterman Funeral Home of Boston. Robert matriculated to the Town of Danvers having been the manager and lead funeral director at the former Crosby Funeral Home in Danvers. In 1957, Mr. Peterson bought one of the oldest buildings in Danvers, the former family home of the Creese family of Creese and Cook Leather Company and transformed their family home into his family funeral home. Along with his beloved wife Trudy (Fiske) Peterson, the funeral home flourished and became the most prominent place in to have a funeral service.
In 1987, Mr. Peterson choose Thomas O'Donnell to pass on the legacy of his funeral home. Tom had worked closely with Mr. Peterson over the years and it became a very good partnership. At this time the name of the funeral home became the Peterson-O'Donnell Funeral Home.
Thomas' son, Anthony O'Donnell joined his father in the business in the year 2000, becoming the fourth generation to enter into the family funeral business.
Under Anthony's direction, in 2013 the Danvers facility underwent a year long renovation and now is known as the finest funeral home on the North Shore. Professionally decorated and appointed, it has all of the comforts and amenities available.
In 2020, the firms were re-branded to O'Donnell - Cremations - Funerals - Celebrations, to cater to the selections and choices of today's families.
Anthony is a fourth generation funeral director on his father's side and a third generation funeral director on his mothers side. His maternal side owned and operated the Cuffe-McGinn Funeral Home of Lynn for many years. With great heritage on both sides of his family and a willingness to help in his foundation, Anthony O'Donnell is the next great generation of the O'Donnell and Cuffe families to help those in need.
With the funeral homes serving the communities of Salem, Danvers, Beverly, Peabody, Marblehead, Hamilton, Wenham, Topsfield, Boxford, Middleton, Ipswich, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Reading, North Andover and Georgetown the family business has gained a reputation of providing compassionate and caring service.
Both locations represent the best of architecture and decor, aligning its physical beauty with the service provided by the caring staff of the O'Donnell Funeral and Cremation Service Family.