BALLSTON SPA – Words cannot express how saddened we are for the loss of an incredible young man, Jonah Christian O’Donnell, on January 3, 2019, at the age of 25, surrounded by his loved ones.
Jonah was given the “Gift of Life” after undergoing heart transplants at the ages of 4 and 21 at New York Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital in NYC, and he triumphantly achieved a life of love and compassion that he shared with everyone who knew him as “that’s just Jonah”, an endearment that will live in our hearts and minds forever. We are going to rely on the love of others to lift us up in our time of grief.
Born in Albany, he was the son of Heather Clemente (Freddy Ruiz) and the late John O’Donnell of Brooklyn. He was educated most of his childhood in Brooklyn and Troy and was a graduate of Ballston Spa High School. In reality, Jonah was an educator in that he taught others about life in so many ways. He had a sense of humor that would make you wonder how he could. His medical conditions actually enabled him to gain an abundance of life experiences that he appreciated and shared with family and friends.
Jonah was a self-proclaimed lyricist and enjoyed swimming, “adulting”, music, comics, video games, hanging with friends and family and Netflix. He was a bit of a food connoisseur and fashion expert. Amazon will be losing one of their most dedicated customers.
Jonah is survived by his 3 siblings Tina O’Donnell (Frankie), Ballston Spa; Jonathan O’Donnell, Ballston Spa and Alena Dunn, Brooklyn; Grandmothers Patricia Clemente Saunders, Troy and Nancy Roman, Ballston Spa. His aunts, uncles and cousins include Patrick O’Donnell (Cathy), Schenectady; Liz Clemente, Latham; Tina Clemente Hynes (John), Latham; Phyllis Russo, Ballston Spa; Jennifer Russo-Ryan (Law), Ballston Spa; Lyn Russo-Bednarowski (Bill), Rotterdam, Daniel Gorr, Latham and Johnny O’Donnell, Schenectady. He was predeceased by the love of his life and fiancé, Kaite Koagel, Parish NY; grandparents Mary and John O’Donnell (Scotland) and Walter Saunders (Troy). Jonah was also survived by a large circle of extended family, including Diane Barbour, Chrissie Gorr, Danny Ruiz, Wilfredo “Papo” Roman (Cathy) and his dedicated friend, Ryan Rougie. He also leaves behind his canine companion Dutch, feline companion “Gandoff” (Rico), ferret Mia and “the” turtles.
The family wishes to extend a special thanks to the staff at New York Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital in NYC, especially Dr. Linda Addonizio and her pediatric cardiac team and Chaplain Father Donald Johnston, for their many years of dedication and extraordinary care to Jonah’s health and well- being. Also we would like to thank the staff of the 3 rd , 5 th and IC units of St. Peter’s Hospital who worked tirelessly and unselfishly with competence and compassion as Jonah’s illness progressed to ensure that his wishes were fulfilled, his dignity was protected and his quality of life was achieved for a painless and peaceful parting.
Relatives and friends are invited to visit with Jonah’s family on Friday, January 11, from 4 to 7 pm at Bowen and Parker Brothers Funeral Home, 97 Old Loudon Road, Latham. Funeral services will be on Saturday, January 12, at 10:00 am from the funeral home with Reverend John Tallman officiating. Interment will follow at St. Agnes Cemetery in Menands.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Jonah’s memory to: New York Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, Attn: Child Life Donations, 3959 Broadway, Room 660, New York, NY 10032 ( firstname.lastname@example.org ), Make-A-Wish Northeast New York, 3 Washington Square, Albany NY 12205 (neny.wish.org) or Becky’s House/St. Peter’s Hospital, 296 Hackett Boulevard, Albany NY 12208 ( www.sphcs.org>beckyshouse ).