On Saturday, July 10, 2021, I helped to celebrate the significant legacy of one of our own long time parishioners, Dan O’Donnell. The city council of Chicago designated the corner of Armitage and Bissell in honor of Dan’s contribution in helping to transform our Lincoln Park neighborhood.
Dan was a powerhouse of a human being, a man who reached and touched thousands of lives…literally!! Through neighborhood organizations, the Kiwanis, St. Teresa’s and his many connections with Ireland, Dan created a beautiful tapestry of humanity in its many shapes and colors. For over 50 years, all the stores and businesses along Armitage and beyond experienced Dan’s caring presence. Think of the countless lives of children his generosity touched.
I met Dan in 1991 when I became a resident priest here at St. Teresa’s while teaching at Archbishop Quigley. I used to visit Dan in the basement of the old Ace Hardware right on Armitage. It was here that I learned about the history and transformation of Lincoln Park. He actually brought together various gang members to try and broker some peace!!! I learned more from him about this area from its beginnings in a study sponsored by the Kiwanis, an organization dear to Dan.
We all miss Dan so much and our hearts go out to Kathleen and the rest of his beautiful family. They put together a moving celebration to celebrate “unveil” the sign designating that corner in honor of Dan. Every time you are walking east on Armitage, just past the El station, just look up and see Dan’s name and remember a beautiful man who was a part of St. Teresa’s since 1969!!!
And see his Irish eyes smiling…..