Cover photo for Retired Lt Col. Germaine "Gerri" O'Donnell's Obituary
1940 Retired Lt Col. Germaine "Gerri" 2023

Retired Lt Col. Germaine "Gerri" O'Donnell

January 17, 1940 — December 8, 2023

Link to view livestream of Gerri's service:


Retired Lt Col. Germaine “Gerri” O’Donnell of Sioux City, Iowa passed away on Friday December 8th 2023 in Jacksonville, FL at the age of 83. Services will be on Tuesday December 19 with visitation 9-10 a.m. followed with mass at 10 a.m. both at Nativity Catholic Church with the Rev. Brad Pelzel officiating.   Burial will be 11 a.m. at Memorial Park Cemetery with military rites conducted.  A luncheon will follow at Meyer Brothers Morningside Chapel.

Germaine “Gerri” Goergen O’Donnell was born in Granville, Iowa on January 17th 1940 to parents Joseph N. & Margaret (Kraus) Goergen.  She attended St. Joseph’s Catholic Grade School and High School in Granville, IA graduating in 1958.  Following graduation she attended the St. Vincent’s Hospital School of Nursing in Sioux City, Iowa graduating in 1961.  Gerri practiced Nursing for 39 years at the former St. Vincent’s Hospital and Mercy Medical Center in Sioux City, IA with the last 22 years of her career in Orthopedic and Neuro surgery in the operating room.  Gerri married Joseph F. O’Donnell Jr. on July 27th 1963 in Granville, Iowa at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.  Joe died April 13th 2001.  Gerri joined the Iowa Air National Guard, the former 185th Tactical Fighter Group in Sioux City, Iowa in September 1973 as a   1st Lt. and was assigned to the Medical Squadron.  Lt Col. O’Donnell was the Chief Nurse in the Clinic for the last 15 years of her Air National Guard career.  Gerri retired from the Iowa Air National Guard in December 1996 as a Lt Col. and received a retirement ride in the F-16 which was piloted by her son Barry, who was a member of the same unit at the time.  Lt Col. O’Donnell was the first female officer to retire from the Sioux City, Iowa Air National Guard unit. 

Gerri was a member of Nativity Catholic Church in Sioux City, Iowa, the Confraternity of Christian Mothers, and an active member of the Ladies Guild & president of the St. Vincent’s Hospital School of Nursing Alumni Association for many years. 

Gerri loved being a nurse and always said she could not imagine doing anything else.  She so enjoyed preparing scrap books and photo albums for her family and for her many grandchildren. 

Gerri is survived by her son Barry O’Donnell of Tucson, AZ, her daughter Rhonda and her husband Paul Gruber of Jacksonville, FL, and her daughter Robin and her husband Jon Tagatz of Brentwood, TN.  She was a devoted Grandma & called Nanna Gerri to Keegan O’Donnell, Raegan, Gannon, & Karson Gruber, Riley & Jack Tagatz.  Gerri is also survived by a brother Roger and his wife Lotus Goergen of Granville, IA, a sister Eileen Callenius and her husband Bernie Krzywada of Boca Raton, FL, a brother Glenn and his wife Denise Goergen of West Bend, WI.  Gerri loved being an aunt to many nieces and nephews and kept in contact with them.

Preceded in death by a loving husband and wonderful parents. 

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider a donation in her honor to one of her favorite charities, which are Tunnels to Towers, Community Hospice, or St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Retired Lt Col. Germaine "Gerri" O'Donnell, please visit our flower store.


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