Sunday, May 6, 2018, marks a very sad day for family, friends, and colleagues of Jody Sue O’Donnell. Jody passed away peacefully in the presence of family and friends. She was loved by all that knew her and will be missed by many.
Jody was born May 27, 1951, in Ventura, IA, to Kathleen Faye Parker Ziesmer and LeRoy Aaron Ziesmer. She was raised in Ventura and graduated from Ventura Community High School in 1969.
Jody’s Idaho story began after graduation from Iowa State University in 1977, when she and her husband, Michael O’Donnell, moved to Pocatello.
Jody had not one, but two professional careers as a Speech-Language Pathologist. In 1978, she began working at the American Falls School District and earned her master’s degree in speech, language pathology from Idaho State University in 1983. She was always dedicated to improving the lives of children with communication needs. She was known for her compassion and dedication. During this time she also worked with the Rockland School District and provided services at Bannock Regional Medical Center.
Jody retired from the American Falls School District in 2009 and with her energy and drive to make a positive impact on others, she started her second career at ISU. She served as a clinical assistant professor in the Communication Sciences and Disorder Department and was promoted to Clinical Associate Professor in 2015. She was able to use her deep practical experience and professional commitment to teach many clinical skills to college students. She became involved in research and professional presentations at numerous national and regional meetings. She helped implement the Intensive Interprofessional Stuttering Clinic at ISU which is now held every year.
In addition to her vast employment experiences, Jody served her professional community with service in the Idaho Speech Language and Hearing Association (ISHA) as secretary, treasurer, president-elect, president and past president. She was appointed to the Speech and Hearing Services Licensure Board by Idaho’s governor in 2006 and served on the board until her retirement from ISU in May, 2017.
Jody was loved by her clients, her students and her colleagues. In spite of her impressive credentials and accomplishments, she was always humble about her own impact. She took great pleasure in celebrating the success of others, and she exemplified cheerful kindness.
Jody dedicated her life and career to serving others in every capacity. She has been a teacher, mentor and a professional leader. She has been a beloved sister, wife, daughter, friend and colleague. She has touched so many lives in many positive ways and will be remembered for her service, love and kindness to others.
Jody is survived by: her mother, Kathleen Ziesmer; siblings, Jane Beach (Doug), Kansas City, MO; David Ziesmer (Becky), Garner, IA; Jana Kerns (Jim), N. Kansas City, MO; and Andrew Ziesmer, Arlington Heights, IL; nieces, Jennifer, Alison, Amanda and Olivia; nephews, Aaron, Austin, Derek, Ian, Parker, Zachary, Pierce; seven great nieces and nephews, Jackson, Iva, Matilda, Lucca, Zane, Jase and Adeline.
She was preceded in death by husband, Michael O’Donnell, and father, LeRoy Ziesmer.
Celebration of Life was held Friday, May 11, at 2 p.m. at the Colonial Funeral Home, 2005 S. 4th Avenue, Pocatello, Idaho. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to: In memory of Jody O’Donnell, Idaho State University Foundation, 921 S. 8th Avenue, Stop 8050, Pocatello, ID 83209-8050
A second celebration will be held at the GVH Junior High Cafeteria, Ventura, IA, on Saturday, May 19, from 9:30 to 11 a.m.
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