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Phillip D. O'Donnell

April 12, 1966 March 27, 2018
Phillip D. O'Donnell
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Obituary for Phillip D. O'Donnell

Phillip D. “Derrick” O’Donnell, 51, of North Providence, died March 27, 2018 at Miriam Hospital.

Phillip was born on April 12, 1966 in Bethesda, Maryland. He spent his early childhood in Dublin, Ireland. He was the son of Patricia “Pat” Margaret Mary Kearney of Ringsend. Pat had aspirations to be a fashion designer and emigrated to the United States with her young son in the 60’s. He was the stepson of Susan A. Sayler who held a state position at the University of Rhode Island and fought in Dessert Storm.

Phillip “PJ” grew up in Warwick, Rhode Island, and as a teenager and young adult, spent his summers on Block Island working at the Harborside Inn and Winfield’s Restaurant. In 1986, he graduated from the Culinary Institute of America where he was awarded gold medals in the Culinary Olympics. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Hotel Restaurant Management from Boston University in 1997. In his early career, he was Malcolm Forbes’ private chef on his ranch in Fort Garland, Colorado. In this position, he had the privilege of cooking for European royalty and U.S. presidents. Phillip had a passion for cooking and the restaurant business. He ended his career working as an Executive Kitchen Manager at the Cheesecake Factory. As one of his co-workers noted, he understood the Cheesecake Factory philosophy and “made it his own ‘secret sauce’.”

Phillip was an avid reader, an adept conversationalist, and a lover of music of all kinds, especially jazz. He delighted in sharing his excitement about a new book, artist, or musician that he discovered with family and friends. While he relished the quiet of small group conversation and playing chess, he also enjoyed roller coasters and sky diving. Phillip was contemplative and spent time thinking about his philosophy of life.

Phillip settled in Warwick, Rhode Island where he started his family. His daughter, Grace, was born on Thanksgiving and his son, Jack, was born on Christmas. He loved his “holiday babies” and spending time with them. His favorite activities with Grace was taking her to museums and on trips to Boston. Watching Jack play soccer and taking him to skateboard parks brought him great joy. He enjoyed trips to Cape Cod to visit his Aunt Loretta to play cribbage. He had great fun with his sister, Brandy, and their similar senses of humor.

Phillip was always eager to make trips home to Ireland to “fuel his tank.” He enjoyed chats with his Aunt Sue and pints of Guinness with his Uncles. His younger cousins were thrilled when they were old enough to enjoy pub crawls with their cousin “D” on his visits home.

Phillip had strong passion for animals, particularly big dogs. He always had German Shepherds, including Irish and Keisha. His favorite, though, was Aurora, a 130 pound shepherd mix who had the psyche of a lap dog. Phillip attributes her to teaching his two children how to walk.

Phillip was a unique and caring person. He was a true mentor and leader to his co-workers. He was always willing to lend an ear and be a confidant to those who needed support and counsel. He had deep interest in the lives of those close to him.

Phillip is survived by the mother of his children, Laurie L. Hazard of Warwick, RI, his children Grace and Jack O’Donnell, his sister Brandy L. O’Donnell of North Providence, and his Aunt Susan, Uncle Jack, and Uncle Derrick Kearney of Dublin Ireland, his nine first cousins and their children.

Calling hours will be from 5:00-8:00 pm at Monahan, Drabble, and Sherman Funeral Home, 230 Waterman Street, Providence, RI on Thursday, March 29, 2018. A funeral service will be held at 11:00 AM at the Redwood Chapel at Swan Point Cemetery, 585 Blackstone Boulevard, Providence, Rhode Island on Friday, March 30, 2018

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