Gene McDonnell
Gene McDonnell

Obituary of Gene M McDonnell

McDonnell Eugene (Gene) age 89 passed into eternal rest at his home in Seminole, FL on January 28, 2022. Gene was born in Philadelphia on November 3, 1932 to John & Martha McDonnell. He attended LaSalle High School (‘51) and then LaSalle College (‘55) on a baseball scholarship. After graduation he served his country during the Korean War first as a Marine and then in the Army.

Gene’s career endeavors were always education and athletics. He began his 35-year teaching career first in Philadelphia, PA and then in Cherry Hill, NJ. He received his Master’s Degree from Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ. His love of athletics took him back to his alma mater LaSalle College (now University) where he was the baseball coach for 35 years, the highlight of which was earning a seed in the College World Series. He received many awards while at LaSalle, including Coach of the Year and enrollment in LaSalle’s Coaches Hall of Fame. After leaving LaSalle he coached the Camden County College baseball team for two years and was awarded Coach of the Year in 1997.

Gene would always give you a “boost:” a firm handshake, a warm smile, and an encouraging word, especially for the young people he taught and coached. Many of his players kept in touch with him over the years, many saying how much he taught them about baseball, and more importantly about life.

In 1997, Gene retired from coaching and teaching, first to Naples, FL for seven years, and finally to Seminole, FL.

Gene is survived by his beloved wife of 52 years Diane Smelik McDonnell as well as his devoted sister, Sister Marta McDonnell R.S.M. of Philadelphia. Gene is also survived by his 3 loving children: Patricia Dunn (husband Jim) of Cinnaminson NJ, Gene Alan McDonnell (wife Rebecca) of Auburndale FL and Julie Grantham (husband Trace) of Seminole FL. Gene is also survived by his eight grandchildren: Danielle Lucas, Lauren, Nick, and Rachel Caccese, Brennan and Abbie McDonnell, Jordyn and Lisette Grantham, and four great-grandchildren: Rylyn, Ellie, Carter and Cameron.

A mass will be held at St. Jerome Church, Largo, FL, on Friday, March 4th, 2022 at 12:30PM. Burial will be at 2:30PM, in Bay Pines National Military Cemetery in St. Petersburg, FL following the Service.




In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Gene’s memory to




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