Edwin Joe O’Donnell

Edwin Joe O’Donnell of Lenexa, KS passed away peacefully on Wednesday, April 24, 2024, at his home after surviving stomach cancer and then battling multiple myeloma, a blood cancer. A memorial service will be held on Thursday, August 15th at 3 PM at Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, 6630 Nall Ave. Mission, KS. 

Ed was born May 10, 1939, in Kansas City, KS.  He was the only child, born to the late Charles and Maxine O’Donnell.  He grew up in Kansas City, KS and graduated from Wyandotte High School.  Ed attended Central Technical Institute in Kansas City where he received his technical broadcasting training followed by two years at Baker University where he helped set up their first broadcasting studio. 

In 1960 Ed married Joann Herod, the mother of his three children; Daniel O’Donnell of Lubbock, TX, Christine (Brian) Schwermann of Leawood, KS, and Shawn O’Donnell of Overland Park, KS.  Ed’s 3rd wife, Jean O’Donnell, passed away on January 8, 2019.  Besides his children, Ed is survived by 2 grandchildren and three stepdaughters and their families. 

In 1961, Ed began his 45 year long career in broadcast engineering and radio broadcasting.  Except for a short stint in Pittsburg, KS, Ed spent his career in Topeka, KS at WIBW Radio, ultimately serving as Chief Engineer and Operations Manager until his retirement in 2005. 

Ed’s career was highlighted by many accomplishments in his field of broadcast engineering, and he enjoyed his time spent on radio broadcasting, as well.  As an engineer, one of his career highlights was setting up the Kansas City Royals Radio network for WIBW and its’ affiliate stations. Ed served as Executive Producer of the Kansas State Wildcat Sports Network during the 23 years that WIBW owned it, which involved the production of football, men’s and women’s basketball, and baseball.  He also produced the annual network broadcast of Handel’s Messiah by Bethany College in Lindsborg, KS for 34 years and anchored the program for 24 of those years.  Ed led the plan, move and set-up of the WIBW studios four times throughout his career.  

As a radio broadcaster, Ed was the voice of the Pittsburg State Gorilla’s from 1965-1970.  He broadcasted annually for the Kansas State High School Basketball tournament, including both men’s and women’s basketball.  His absolute favorite sports broadcasting position was serving as the voice of the Lady Cats, Kansas State women’s basketball team, for 17 years, starting in 1985.

Ed served two terms on the Board of Directors of the Kansas Association of Broadcasters and in 1986 was awarded the KAB, Hod Humiston award for his contributions to sports broadcasting.  In 2004 Ed was awarded the Distinguished Service Award and was inducted into the Kansas Broadcasters Hall of Fame. 

Upon retirement, Ed and his wife Jean moved to Lenexa, KS, giving him the opportunity to watch his two grandchildren grow up and attend many of their activities.  Ed had a passion for classical and show music so living in a suburb of Kansas City provided him the opportunity to be a Kansas City Symphony season ticket holder as well as attend visiting Broadway shows.  He and Jean traveled in Europe and throughout the United States.  His love of electric trains was manifested in an elaborate and sizable train table layout consuming most of his basement.  

Ed appreciated the immense support of the number of caring members of Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal church who visited and prayed for him during his health challenges.  It was a pleasure for him to serve as an usher at the church.  The family would also like to thank neighbors Jan & Nancy King, as well as friends, Ann & Bob Schwermann, who helped Ed with his many doctor and hospital visits over the years.  Donations can be made in Ed’s honor to Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal church. 

Condolences

  1. Jim "Shorty" Kleinau on July 10, 2024 at 1:51 pm

    I became to know Ed when he would bring his broadcasting gear to the Football Stadium to be put on the equipment truck to be taken to the game site. He was always on time for it to be loaded and stored for the trip.
    Needless to say, by the time the post game show was over and Ed had packed up his gear, he was always the last one to the bus or plane. It was always a scramble and a rush to make it , but he never got left behind.
    Ed and I would swap stories in regards to our jobs and the behind the scenes work it took to perform our tasks. I always enjoyed the visits and becoming friends with him.
    Let me offer my condolences to the O’Donnell Family.



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