During the holiday season, the O’Donnell family and staff participate in a number of local activities meant to enhance the lives of families in need. Some activities are very much behind the scenes. We "adopt" families through Catholic Charities in order to make sure that every parent is able to provide something special for their children at Christmas as well as participate in the giving tree at the IC Church. We also work with the the Marine Corps, The Mass State Police, a Variety Children's Charities and others to identify groups in need of collected toys and clothing. No family should go without especially during the holidays and the O'Donnell team is there to help.
Funeral Director Anthony Cuffe O’Donnell has been a board member of the City of Salem Cemetery Commission for over 15 years. He has been an integral part of the 2021 restoration of one of the most historic cemeteries in Massachusetts, The Old Burial Ground on Charter Street in Salem. An over 2-million-dollar rehab was recently finished to update the records as well as upkeep the grounds. With this work it will allow the cemetery to have a future and share the history with residents and tourists alike. He was also a driving force behind the designation of Greenlawn Cemetery in Salem as a National Arboretum and the construction of a new Master Plan for the cemetery. The new Master Plan will allow for grants to help with the revitalization of the grounds for preservation for years to come. AS well as provide new space for permanent memorialization.
Being a good neighbor is at the heart of who we are. As residents and business owners on Salem Common for 100 years combined the O’Donnell Family has been active in the SCNA for generations. Thomas O’Donnell was awarded the SCNA Award for his continued support of the neighborhood along with other influential business owners and volunteers. For over 25 years The O’Donnell Family has donated the annual Christmas Tree that many in our community and beyond enjoy. This tree has a prominent place right in the bandstand on Salem Common and it is our honor to do so. We hope this gesture brings hope to all during the Christmas season.
Anthony O’Donnell is a member and supported of the Friends of Salem Common who are focused in preserving the ascetics and natural environment of the Salem Common. New Handicap Accessible entrances and sidewalks as well as a new Accessible playground are just some of the focused projects of this group. Raising over $100,000 dollars to start maintenance and needed restoration, the O’Donnell Family, Anthony O'Donnell and the funeral home have been benefactors of this group since its inception. Anthony O’Donnell also advises the group in fundraising efforts and future projects. O'Donnell Cremations - Funerals - Celebrations recently made a donation of $10,0000 dollars to foster the private/public partnership and further help with the maintenance and upkeep of Salem Common. Working hand in hand with Massachusetts State Senator Joan Lovely of Salem and Massachusetts State Representative Paul Tucker in this initative has been an honor for the O'Donnell team.
Funeral Director Diane Gallagher and her daughter, Kristen Almquist-Cevallos, have been active fund raisers and volunteers with Timmy’s Angels, a local Salem non-profit 403B charity, providing much needed coats and gifts to those in need during the holiday season. O’Donnell Cremations – Funerals -Celebrations supports Diane in her community activities with annual financial donations. Diane and Kris have raised over $7,000.00 dollars in support of Timmy’s Angles which in turn helps tens of thousands of families annually. Great work Diane & Kris!
Salem has a rich immigrant heritage. Many ethic groups immigrated to the city of Salem and have made it home for generations. One of the largest ethic groups were people with Polish heritage. Diane Gallagher was the Co-Owner and director of the former David Gonet Funeral Home in Salem which specialized in serving the Polish community of the North Shore and Salem. David was dedicated to his Church, St. John the Baptist Polish Church and Diane has followed in his footsteps. She is a member of the board of directors for the annual scholarship fund and often volunteers at the Polish Picnic held annual to raise funds for the church. We have also been entrusted with the legacy of the Full-Spychalski Funeral Home, Salem and the former Pocharski Funeral Home and their dedication to the Polish community. Many families choose us to assist them as we are the experts in the funeral norms of their culture.
Honoring the sacrifices that veterans have made in defending the freedoms that we enjoy is very important to the O’Donnell family. Taking care of the veteran is our motto. By taking the time to commemorate their service to our country and to honor veterans who have died, we recognize that despite differences in race, religion, social or economic status, and ethnic background, and even country of origin, we are all Americans. We all have a responsibility toward patriotism.
Every year on the day before Memorial Day, in May O’Donnell Cremations – Funerals – Celebrations, hosts a free Veteran Appreciation Brunch at the Danversport Yacht Club. Each and every year more and more veterans and veteran families and friends have attended. During the brunch, families often share the life stories of their veteran loved one with each other. Our event provides fellowship for veterans and even had the positive response of one veteran: “it was like being back in the Fox hole with my buddies”. Just a small token of gratitude toward those who sacrificed so much.
Funeral Director and Advance Planning expert, Chad Craker of O’Donnell Cremations – Funerals – Celebrations, organizes our Annual Veterans Day Breakfast. In 2022, we had over 150 veterans and veteran families in attendance treated to a full brunch from the Danversport Yacht Club. In addition to the fellowship and meal, we had presentations from Lead from the Front- Veterans Charity Founder - Edward Brzychcy, All Care Hospice and Veteran Liaison and Yankee Division Commander - Tom Moran, Operation Troop Support founder and president Dick Moody as well as Steve Bohn – Veterans Liaison from the 6th District Congressional Office. This year Congressman Seth Moulton and Representatives, Joan Lovely (Salem) and Sally Kearns (Danvers) as well as District Attorney Paul Tucker and representatives from Beverly State Representative Jerry Parisella were in attendance.
The veterans were treated to an all-expenses-paid Day trip to the American Heritage Museum in Stow, MA, including coach bus transportation by the New England Patriots own bus provider, breakfast and lunch, and a private tour of the museum. Advance Planning Funeral Director Chad Craker with the assistance of Anthony O’Donnell took 5 months of planning to have the event run smoothly. We were aided by Kim Emerling – Veteran Service Office from the City of Salem, Kelly Rayos, Veterans Service Officer from the Town of Danvers, Tom Moran Yankee Division Commander, Dick Moody – Operation Troop Support and Mike and Kaitlyn - Veterans Liaisons at Brooksby Village, Peabody in the preparation of this great event. The American Heritage Museum is a military history museum on the grounds of the Coollage Foundation. The tour began with an immersive walk through a replica WW I bunker and into the “War Clouds” which covers the inter war period and beginning of WW II. We were then led to the main room of the museum which holds the largest collection of military memorabilia on the east coast. There is also a large commemoration of the 9/11 at the end of the tour. All guests were provided with lunch from Henry’s Market and transportation home. Our 2022 Trip to the JFK Museum in Boston was an amazing experience and so well well received. 3 Buses leaving from Danvers, Salem & Brooksby Village full of veterans and their families as well as the Veterans Service Officers from each of the communities, enjoyed complimentary lunch, coffee and donuts and fellowship. A full day of honoring veterans and their families. With over 400 veterans and veterans’ family it is our honor to celebrate the veterans service in this manner.
O’Donnell Cremations – Funerals – Celebrations locations in Danvers and Salem are American Flag Retirement Centers. With Hand Built Retirement boxes, built by O’Donnell Staff Member and Veteran Dennis Shupp “Buck” and hand painted by his daughter, these centers allow community members make sure their worn or tattered American Flags are disposed of properly, with respect and dignity. O’Donnell Funeral Home also donated a hand built American Flag Retirement Center box to the Massachusetts State Police at its Danvers Barracks for their collection and drop off. We partnered with Mass State Police Sargent Byron Rizzos.
The proper disposal of a torn, tattered or worn-out United States flag involves the respectful burning of the flag. Throughout the year, O’Donnell Cremations – Funerals - Celebrations serves as a collection/drop off location for old flags. In conjunction with Flag Day, June 14, the O’Donnell staff in partnership with the members and officers of the American Legion and boy scout troops, conduct a flag burning ceremony for the general public.
The O’Donnell family and staff recognize that health care is a vital part of the fabric and infrastructure of any community. Their support of health care reaches beyond the local community in supporting medical research and organizations that assist families facing a medical crisis. They regularly contribute to such organizations as the Massachusetts General Hospital Pediatric Cancer Unit, Dana Farber Cancer Center, St. Jude's Children's Hospital, and Shriners Burns Hospital, with a special emphasis on treatment and cure of childhood diseases. As a further commitment to families on the North Shore, the O’Donnell Family has a long-standing policy of providing their services at no charge to families experiencing the death of a baby or young child. We have partnered with North Shore Medical Center in Salem and Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston along with the Catholic Cemetery Association in providing a funeral service for families grieving the loss of a child with respect, dignity and with no financial burden.
Anthony O’Donnell has served our local hospice group in many ways. Being a lead sponsor and coordinator of a major grief event featuring renown grief expert, Alan Wolfelt at Bishop Fenwick High School. Funeral Directors, Diane Gallagher and Brianna Bennett participate annually in the Walk for Hospice in Danvers, raising funds for Care Dimensions. Cindy Shupp participates annually in the Service of Remembrance and Hope sharing her beautiful musical talents as a flutist. O’Donnell Cremations – Funerals – Celebrations also works closely with the Bertlone Grief and Healing Center of Care Dimensions providing Grief Support Group information to each of the families served annually. For a current calendar, support groups or more information visit www.caredimensions.org.
Annually O’Donnell Cremations – Funerals – Celebrations holds a grief and healing event at our Danvers location around Valentine’s Day. This event acknowledges the impact of losing a loved one. With expert grief counselors on hand many families find this a unique way to face the loss of their love on this special day.
Funeral Director Brianna Bennett, planned a large-scale event bringing families together to focus on facing the holidays following the loss of a loved one. The Holidays can be a difficult time for many especially after a death. This event at our Danvers Funeral Home was led by a local grief expert and attendance was over 75 people. Many found great tools in how to cope with loss during the Holiday season and beyond. The funeral home also shares with each family a grief booklet and pamphlet with tips in how to over come the loneliness of loss during the holiday season.
Dorothy O’Donnell, mother of Thomas, was a long-time active member of the Women’s Friends Society of Salem. The Women’s Friends provides support and housing for women in need. Founded in 1876, it has been a pioneering and positive voice in the charitable giving in the City of Salem. Helping women for generations. For years the O’Donnell Funeral Home family has supported the group financially as well as with the use of their chairs for events held at the society building on Hawthorne Blvd., in Salem.
Dorothy O’Donnell for years served on the Board of Directors of Catholic Charities North. Along with Loretta Cuffe-O’Donnell has volunteered time and effotrts into making this charity successful. Programs run by Catholic Charities focus on strengthening families. Child care, young parent programs, literacy and GED programs, along with counseling and assisting families in crises are a big part of the work of Catholic Charities. To learn more visit ccab.org or call (781) 593-2312.
For several years, O’Donnell Cremations – Funerals – Celebrations has taken an ad in the annual Shriners fundraising program. With the guidance of Cliff Elliot, we have seen our donation go to helping the success of the Shrine.
Funeral Director Anthony O’Donnell and the O’Donnell Family have been leading sponsors for over 10 years of the annual 3 Kings Celebrations at the Immaculate Conception Church in Salem, MAry Queen of the Apostles Parish. The celebration of the 3 Kings is a sacred event in the Hispanic Community and the O’Donnell’s continued support of this event has allowed it to provide gifts for over 3,000 children in need.
As the lead sponsor and host company for the long time running Hispanic Picnic in Salem. Funeral Director Anthony O’Donnell partnered with many of the Hispanic Community Members and the Immaculate Conception Church in Salem, in celebrating the heritage of the Hispanic Culture with a day’s long celebration. A live band and food provided for the community all supported and sponsored by the O’Donnell Family.
O’Donnell Cremations – Funerals – Celebrations locations in Danvers and Salem are drop off centers for the annual Toys for Tots Christmas drive in connection with the Few and Honorable Veterans Group and the Massachusetts State Police, as well as with teh Essec County Detachment of the North Shore Marine Corps League. Toys for Tots assists families in need of gifts for children throughout Massachusetts and especially in Salem, Peabody, Beverly and Danvers.
The North Shore is blessed with an abundance of parks and playgrounds as well as youth sports organizations. Youth sports are fundamental for young people to learn teamwork, leadership and physical fitness while just having fun. Many of these programs require substantial funding over and above what the participants are able to cover. The O’Donnell family has been a consistent supporter of a number of local programs. Especially the Danvers Youth Lacrosse Program and Salem Youth Football.
Anthony O’Donnell was the Varsity Head Coach and Boys Lacrosse Program Director at Peabody Veterans Memorial High School for over 12 years and has been involved with the program for over 20 years. He was also a board member of the EMLCA Coaches Association and Northeastern Conference Lacrosse President. The O’Donnell Cremations – Funerals – Celebrations sponsors a Peabody Veterans Memorial High School Football player annually as well as sponsors the Masconomet High School Hockey program and the Danvers Blue & White Club with their fundraising books. For years the O’Donnell Family have been ardent supporters of Salem High School Football and Basketball, present at games, events and Massachusetts Super Bowls, the Witches have our full support. In 2022 The O'Donnell Family presented a donation to Salem High School Football Boosters for $5,000 in support of the program. Mentoring young people is just another way we support our community.
Anthony O’Donnell was a founder of the Agganis Games Boys Lacrosse All Star Games. He was also one of the only coaches to be selected twice as a coach of the All-Star games. Much planning and preparation goes into preparing the teams, site Venue and applications for the student participants and the scholarship program through the Agganis Foundation provides much needed financial assistance to students who excel in the class room and on the field.
The O’Donnell family and staff have been members, officers, partners and supporters of all the area service clubs and fraternal organizations for years. Whether it is assisting with a fundraising activity, volunteering at the Salem Kids Carnival, The Plummer Youth Promise events or the Danvers Family Festival, or just getting things done, O’Donnell Cremations – Funerals – Celebrations and the O’Donnell Family are there.
Henry J. O’Donnell, Sr. and Jr. were both Past Grand Knights and Thomas A. O’Donnell was a lifelong member of Knights of Columbus Valloid Council #76 in Salem. Having encouraged many friends from the community to join. The Knights of Columbus does good deeds throughout the community.
Anthony C. O’Donnell has served as an active member of the Amity Mosaic Lodge A.F. & A.M. of Danvers for many years, following in the footsteps of his father Thomas A. O’Donnell, long time member of Star King Lodge A.F. & A.M. of Salem and Worshipful Robert A. Peterson – Past Master of Mosaic Lodge A.F. & A.M. of Danvers. A number of O'Donnell team members have also served active roles in local Masonic Lodges over the years. The O’Donnell Family and staff have supported a number of initiatives that the Masonic Lodges have taken a lead in, most notably blood drives conducted with the American Red Cross and Masonic Scholarship programs.
Thomas O’Donnell is an over 40-year member of the Salem Rotary Club and truly lives the moto of Service Above Self. He was a member of the Scholarship Foundation board, financially supporting the Scholarships if the fundraising efforts were not met on an annual basis. Anthony O’Donnell is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Salem Rotary Club and Chair of the Scholarship committee, providing much needed scholarships for students from Salem continuing their education. Granting over 15 thousand dollars of scholarships annually, this program has truly impacted our community in a positive manner. Long time O’Donnell team member, Donald Lavender, is a Paul Harris Fellow and former Salem Rotary President and longtime advocate. Advance Planning Funeral Director Chad Craker is a current member of the Danvers Rotary Club and has enjoyed his time meeting fellow likeminded business people in Danvers. Chad has recently been installed as a member of the Board of Directors of the Danvers Rotary Club. O’Donnell Cremations Funerals Celebrations is an active supporter of the Salem Rotary Auction, which raises funds for inner-city youth to attend Camp Rotary in Boxford. As Always Service Above Self is at the heart of what we do.
O’Donnell Funeral Homes serves as a drop off center for used eyeglasses and hearing aids that are donated through programs administered by the Lions Clubs worldwide.
As a 4-generation lifelong member of Mary Queen of the Apostles Parish, Immaculate Conception Church in Salem and St. James Church in Salem, Anthony C. O’Donnell, has been active in all aspects of parish life. The O’Donnell Family have chaired numerous events and have taken leadership roles in church organizations. In recent years, a generous donation of $25,000 dollars was given to the I.C. in order for them to restore the historical bell. This bell rings daily and can be heard throughout the city of Salem. In 2022 O'Donnell Funeral Home donated $5,000 to St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Church in Salem to support the community and its endeavors during this difficult year. Funeral Director Diane Gallagher is a long-time active communicant of St. John the Baptist Polish Church in Salem and the Shrine of Divine Mercy of Salem, where she has volunteered in many parish roles, including having a large part of the annual Polish Picnic. Funeral Director Brianna Bennett was a long-time active member of Tabernacle Congregational Church in Salem and active in the youth ministry and outreach groups over the years. O'Donnell Funeral Assistant, Dennis "Buck" Shupp is a long time active member of the First Baptist Church in Beverly as well as a Church Deacon, Board Member, Director of Church Facilities, Head of the Audio Visual Department and coffee set up. For many years, O'Donnell Funeral Assistant, Donald Lavender was a Church Deacon at the Second Congregational Church of Beverly. Licensed Funeral Assistant, Matthew Gubbins has been a member and volunteer at the First Baptist Church in Beverly and active within the Church's Youth Group. For years the O'Donnell Cremations - Funerals - Celebrations has supported financially the Middleton Congregational Church in Middleton, the Congregational Church of Topsfield, the Trinity Episcopal Church in Topsfield, All Saints Episcopal Church in Danvers, North Shore Unitarian Universalist Church in Danvers, Grace Episcopal Church in Salem, St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Salem, St. Mary of the Annunciation Church in Danvers, St. Richard Parish in Danvers and the Congregational of Boxford in their fund raising activities and community events. The O’Donnell family and staff have supported a number of church activities throughout the community. St. Rose of Lima Parish and St. Agnes Parish in Middleton have been benefactors of the O’Donnell Family generosity over the years. Recently the O’Donnell Cremations – Funerals – Celebrations donated over $5,000 dollars to update the parish website to allow for families to watch Holy Mass from home during Covid-19 pandemic. Annually O’Donnell Cremations – Funerals – Celebrations sponsors free religious calendars for the parishioners at St. Agnes Church in Middleton, St. Rose of Lima Parish in Topsfield and the Immaculate Conception Church & St. James Church, both in Salem and the Hispanic Ministry at Mary Queen of the Apostles in Salem.
A community is only as strong as its school system. The O’Donnell Family has donated time and monies to support the Foundation for Education in the City of Salem for many years including donating Red Sox tickets to their most recent raffle. Loretta Cuffe – O’Donnell served as Salem Teacher Union President following a 30 years career as an elementary School teacher at Witch Craft Heights School in Salem, Diane O’Donnell is the recently retired Principal of the Horace Mann School in Salem and Funeral Director Henry J. O’Donnell III is a former Salem School Superintendent. Recently, O’Donnell Cremations – Funerals – Celebrations sponsored annually a subscription to a magazine of choice by a third grader to encourage them to find a love of reading. The Educational foundation provided by our school system is of the utmost importance to the O’Donnell Family and is shown through their dedication in many ways. O’Donnell Funeral Homes have been a business partner with Danvers and the Masconomet School System for several years. Staff members have also participated in guest reading programs over the past several years. Anthony O'Donnell also serves as an adjunct Facility member of the FINE Mortuary College, mentoring as a preceptor on students entering their final phase of schooling.
The staff at O’Donnell Cremations – Funerals - Celebrations has participated in mock accident programs at Salem High School on educating high school students on the dangers of drinking and driving. In addition, the O’Donnell Funeral Home has sponsored a local billboard encouraging people to find a designated driver during the High School Prom season.
O’Donnell Cremations – Funerals – Celebrations offers at no cost their limo to any family wishing to use it for a celebratory event. We often donate our limos to new brides on their big day as well as drive High Schoolers to their prom events. Just another way we are part of the lives of the people in our community.
You are welcome to call us any time of the day, any day of the week, for immediate assistance. Or, visit our funeral home in person at your convenience.