We are saddened to report the loss of a long time member and advocate for our local watersheds and environment, Frank O’Donnell. Frank left this life on Thursday January 25th. As many of you already know, Frank was very active in the Eldred Township community. In 2001, he was instrumental in forming The Blue Mountain Preservation Association to fight a racetrack that threatened the natural beauty of the Eldred Township side of the mountain. Frank served as President of BMPA for most of the twelve years that it took to defeat this project. BMPA, with a coalition of other environmental organizations, achieved their goal of forever preserving this 360 acre property. The final result was the PA Game Commission acquiring the land, which is now part of State Game Lands 168. These efforts involved countless hours of meetings, phone calls, faxes, trips to Harrisburg, more meetings, forming coalitions, involving lawyers, trips to the store to spend money on paper, ink, computers, printers, stamps, etc., and did we mention meetings?
Throughout all of this Frank’s wife Marion was always at his side, fighting the good fight against this monstrosity that was to be built right next to their peaceful farm. The long ordeal robbed them of so much time and money that should have been spent quietly enjoying their retirement. Yet they persevered in a fight that so often looked unwinnable. Frank’s doggedness and strength throughout this made him a mentor to us, both in fighting for environmental causes and just for standing up for what is right in life.
We have SO many fond memories of Frank at BMPA meetings-his leadership, his stories, his projects, and his special laugh-best described as a “Happy Cackle”-will be terribly missed. Even after the Alpine Rose ordeal was over, Frank remained devoted to responsible development by being on the Zoning Hearing Board of Eldred Township and attending most of the Board of Supervisors Meetings. He and Marion also continued to be involved with local environmental groups, namely APWC. They supported our work with their memberships, welcome advice born of great experience, and their dependable presence at our meetings. (We joke that they must have gotten hooked on the going to meetings thing-LOL!)
As the Board of Directors of APWC, we send our sincere sympathy to the O’Donnell Family.