Friday, March 14, 2025

Kelsey was born on December 2, 1987, at Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck, NJ. Kelsey, 35, was the 2nd oldest of six children. Kelsey lived her entire life in Bayonne. She is a graduate of Walter F. Robinson School, Holy Family Academy, and received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from New Jersey City University.
Kelsey was an active and strong athlete since grade school. She was the leading 3-point shooter in the Bayonne grammar school league and went on to play for Holy Family for three years. While in grade school Kelsey began a career in soccer and played for the three-peat County Champion Holy Family Falcons. Finally, finishing her soccer career at NJCU.
After graduating, Kelsey began employment for Forever Collectibles, making several trips for the company to China. In 2013, Kelsey began working for the Bayonne Recreation Department, teaching pre-school children at the Library School. After the Library School closed, she moved over to Parks and Recreation. Later she moved to the Building Department. Eventually to Kelsey’s delight she went back to work for Parks and Recreation and became the Recreation Leader of the Ability Day Care Program. Kelsey was effective in developing relationships with residents with special needs and it was a dream job for her.
Outside of work, Kelsey became very involved, after the death of her brother Jake, with the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). The program was developed to help the survivors of military personnel that died. Around town, she was involved with the Irish American League and was Irishwoman of the year in 2016. She was a board member for Bayonne Friends of Special Needs. She participated in Buddy Baseball, another program developed to teach sports to youth of Bayonne with special needs.
Besides Kelsey’s active role around town, she loved to travel. Beside her trips to China with work, she traveled to various programs with TAPS, such as Alaska, Illinois and California. Closest to her heart were the trips she made to the homeland, Ireland. Since her playing days were over, that didn’t stop her. Kelsey was an avid sports fan. She loved the Giants, Devils and the Yankees. She also enjoyed going to minor league baseball games.
What Kelsey loved most was her family. When the cousins would get together, Kelsey was there with bells on. Of course, she loved her immediate family.
Kelsey is survived by her mother Kathleen (Byrnes) and her father John O’Donnell. Also survived by her sisters Shannon, Tara, and Meghan and her brother Liam. Kelsey was predeceased by her brother Sgt John “Jake” USMC. Finally, she is survived by her loving nieces Ella and Zoey. Kelsey was also predeceased by her maternal grandparents, Don and Joan Byrnes and her paternal grandparents Philip and Frances O’Donnell.
The visitation for Kelsey will be Thursday 3-8 PM at the G. Keenen O’Brien Funeral Home, 984 Avenue C Bayonne, NJ. A Christian Mass of Burial will be held Friday at 10:45 AM at St Henry RC Church, Bayonne, NJ.
In lieu of flowers, the family request that donations be in Kelsey O’Donnell’s name to:
Bayonne Friends of Special Needs, PO Box 866, Bayonne, NJ 07002.

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