I learned this evening that James O'Donnell died peacefully at home this morning. James, aka Jimmy the O, was a UCLA friend of Bill's before I met Bill and one of the first people I met after meeting Bill. Jimmy was the life of a party, a great host and cook, someone who brought people together. He was one of several librarians who have been important in my life. He was taken way too young by cancer and that is a great sadness. He is survived by his partner Ben.
An acrostic poem I wrote when James turned fifty:
Upon the Occasion of Your Natal FestivityJim, how might I, at this mid-century moment, begin to describe, recount,
Affirm the blessing of your friendship? Those fortunate enough to
Meet you, share your table, hear your story, and most simply to
Enjoy your presence over time can all attest to the loving core that
Shines through your laughter, radiates in your embrace, and gifts us all.
Often you have joined with Holy Spirit, bringing souls together in love,
Drawing diversity into relationship, enabling community and communion.
Over the decades you have been steadfast, compassionate, present.
None can adequately praise the gift of you, nor say thanks enough.
Now that we celebrate the gracious act of God, enriching the cosmos-
Enough you say, yet it is true-with a particular configuration of energy, matter,
Love demands we say what we have known. James, your
Life has helped our lives become more whole. For you, we give God thanks.
Rest in peace, Jimmy; into paradise may the angels lead you.