Obituary: Shirley M. O’Donnell

Shirley M. O’Donnell
Posted at 9:15 AM, Dec 02, 2022

HELENA — Shirley M. (Bakko) O’Donnell, 96, died peacefully in the Memory Care at Touchmark of Helena on November 19, 2022.

Shirley was born July 31, 1926 in Walcott, North Dakota. She was the youngest of 4 children born to Cecelia Bertha (Gleim) and Henry Gustav Bakko, all who have preceded her in death.

She moved with her family to Havre at a young age. They later lived in a few other Montana towns including Helena, Shelby, Bozeman, Missoula and Billings while growing up.

Shirley graduated from Missoula County High School in 1944. Following graduation, she moved to Billings where she was employed as a bookkeeper for Farmers Union Central Exchange until she married.

On May 7, 1955, she married James (Jim) V. O’Donnell of Billings at Holy Rosary Church, Billings, MT. Jim has preceded her in death.

Shirley is survived by her 4 children Cathy Cerne (Renton, WA), Jim/Michele O’Donnell (Helena, MT), Larry/Misty O’Donnell (Helena, MT) and Sherry O’Donnell (Helena, MT); her grandchildren Heather/Anthony Macey, Jacob/Shreve Harlow, Cole/Laura O’Donnell, Ryan/Kelsey O’Donnell, Sean O’Donnell, Andy O’Donnell, Courtney Bennett and Blake Bennett; 9 great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

Family brought great joy to Shirley throughout her long life, especially gatherings for special occasions that would bring most of them together. She was an accomplished seamstress, quilter and embroiderer (needlepoint). The quality of her work is matched by none. She enjoyed several hobbies in her retirement years including genealogy, hours at her computer and travel.

Shirley’s family would like to extend a sincere thank you to the staff at Touchmark and especially the wonderful care provided by the Memory Care Team.

Celebration of Shirley’s life will be held at Anderson Stevenson Wilke Funeral Home Helena MT, on December 10, 2022 at 10:00 a.m., followed by a reception at the funeral home.

Cremation has taken place with interment at a future date in 2023 at the O’Donnell section of Mountview Cemetery, Billings, MT with her husband James of 58 years.

In lieu of flowers, donations are welcome to be made in Shirley’s name to the Montana Alzheimer’s Association at 3010 11th Ave N, Billings, MT 59101. Please visit to offer a condolence to the family or to share a memory of Shirley.