Joanne M. McDonnell, of Sister Lakes

Published 3:40 pm Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Joanne M. McDonnell (Ely), 86, of Sister Lakes, passed away Thursday, Dec. 24, 2020, at Central DuPage Hospital in Illinois, after a short in-patient stay.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at noon on Wednesday Dec. 30, 2020, at Sacred Heart of Mary Catholic Church, 51841 Leach Road, Dowagiac, with Father Russell Homic officiating. Burial will follow at Sacred Heart of Mary Cemetery in Dowagiac. Friends may visit with the family from 11 a.m.  until the time of the service at the church. Memorial contributions may be made to the Glaucoma Foundation or Sacred Heart of Mary Catholic Church in her memory. Those wishing to sign Joanne’s Memory Book online may do so at

Joanne was born in 1934 in Chicago to Maurice & Ruth (Kelleher) Ely. She graduated from St. Xavier High School and attended Clarke College in Dubuque, Iowa. In October 1959, she married Lawrence McDonnell in Chicago. She was a member of Sacred Heart of Mary Catholic Church where she served on the Alter Guild and as a Eucharist Minister. Joanne was a devoted wife and mother. Her main goals in life were to make her husband happy and to take care of her children. She lived as a true example to her children on how to be a wife, mother and grandmother. Joanne was a kind and compassionate woman, who treated each person as if they were the most special person around. After raising six children, she took great pleasure in spoiling her grandchildren. She was known as the Matriarch of the Irish Village, and could tell stories of years past, providing historical information otherwise known by few people. She will be greatly missed.

Joanne is survived by her sister, Carol; her brother, Tom; her six children, Maureen McDonnell of Wheaton, Illinois, Tim McDonnell, of Sister Lakes, Tom McDonnell of Wheaton, Bill (Peggy) McDonnell, of Germantown, Wisconsin, John McDonnell, of Wheaton, and Jim (Patty) McDonnell of Aurora, Illinois; nine grandchildren, Jill (Lincoln), Mike (Kate), Erin (Ben), Siobhan, Danny, Andrew, Katie, Matthew and Patrick; six great-grandchildren, Jackson, Ben, Joshua, Nathan, Liam and Noah; along with many nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Lawrence “Larry,” and two of her brothers, Richard “Dick” Ely and Robert “Bob” Ely.