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John McDonnell

1945 - 2021



The family of John McDonnell, 76, of North Branch, is celebrating his life, impact and legacy. John died peacefully surrounded by his family on March 12, 2021.


John was born on January 2, 1945 in Pennsylvania to parents, John and Nora (Pollard) McDonnell. He is the son-in-law of Eugene and Shirlee (Reimann) Gruse. John was married to Cheryl (Gruse) McDonnell, who preceded him in death. He is survived and loved by his four children, Monique (David) Bonkowski. Jon McDonnell, Amber (Devon) White and Heather (Ernesto) Fantin; his seven grandchildren, David John and Denver Bonkowski, Brittany McDonnell, Benjamin Kaldahl, Abram, Annabelle ad Samuel Schneider; his five step-grandchildren, Alexis, Nathanial, Sarah, Breana and Nicholas Fantin.


John served his country in the 5th Special Forces Green Beret, Vietnam. He was a humble about his service and a proud patriot throughout his life. John retired out of Daimler-Chrysler and spent his time sharing his gifts and creativity with family and friends – cooking large meals, gardening, barbecuing and painting.  John was a hobbyist gemologist and had a deep appreciation and talent for the arts.  He also enjoyed the great outdoors, nature and animals, especially his pet Yorkie.


The family would like to express their gratitude to the Covenant Health Care doctors, nurses and staff, who provided excellent care and family support; special thanks to Dr. Nitin Golechha of Marlette for his compassion and care over the years.


In lieu of flowers, memorials in John’s name may be made to  the Veteran’s Affairs of Lapeer County or Paradise Animal Rescue.


Following his wishes, John’s family has entrusted Blackburn Chapel-Martin Funeral Home in North Branch with cremation. A private service will be held for the family.


You may share online condolences and memories of John to family at www.blackburnchapel.com

Arrangements by Blackburn Chapel-Martin Funeral Home

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4216 Huron Street P.O. Box 248, North Branch, MI

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March 13, 2021 3:57 PM

Monique, Jon, Amber, Heather and Family..
Extending our deepest condolences and holding space in our thoughts and prayers.
In harmony & caring,Maxine & Bob Kilbourn

A Memorial Tree was planted for John McDonnell

March 13, 2021 3:29 PM
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