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Smithtown Doctor John O'Donnell Dies at 88

Wake being held Monday, funeral and burial on Tuesday.

Dr. John O'Donnell, who ran a pediatrician practice in Smithtown for 51 years - from 1954 to 2005 - died on Friday at St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center, according to Newsday. He was 88 years old.

According to Newsday, O'Donnell grew up in Manhattan, served in the Army before being honorably discharged, and went on to have 11 children with his wife Peggy.

A wake will be held Monday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7  to 9 p.m. at . A funeral mass will be held Tuesday at 10 a.m. at Sts. Philip and James Roman Catholic Church, followed by an internment at Calverton National Cemetery.

Click here to read the entire Newsday article.

Marion Knott June 26, 2012 at 02:24 PM
Many of our friends used Dr. O'Donnell. We had just come to the area from Massapequa Park where we had a wonderful and caring pediatrician.
Marion Knott June 26, 2012 at 02:26 PM
We ended up using another pediatrician since my youngest at the time was barely a year and the receptionist, maybe nurse, insisted that he get weighed on a regular scale and this upset both the child and myself. Dr. O'Donnell was excellent I am sure but he just couldn't match the previous pediatrician. Not his fault.
Marion Knott June 26, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Dr. O'Donnell did not believe in the measles vaccine and refused to give the shot to his patients. This is not a negative comment but shows that Dr. O'Donnell had a mind of his own. I wonder if he gave in, in years to come, and gave the measles shot. Does anyone know?
Stephen C. O'Donnell June 27, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Dr. O'Donnell WAS a loving and caring pediatrician who cared for 70,000+ patients in 54 years of service to the community. I accompanied him on house calls to home-bound patients in the 1970's and early 80's, with no charge to the families. Hundreds paid their respects at his sudden wake & funeral. He had 3 large table scales for patients unable to stand & walk. Only children who could stand & walk were to be weighed on an upright scale. This provided an opportunity to assess the child's developmental strength & coordination. Any staff person who did what you described to a one-year old would have been royally chewed out by Dr. O'Donnell if he knew about it. Dr. O'Donnell believed in safe and proven vaccinations. You are alluding to the original German Measles vaccine which was being used in the 1970's. Certain school districts in Suffolk County were insisting new students be vaccinated with it. Dr. O'Donnell believed it to be inadequate and posed a health risk to his patients. A better vaccine was in trials & was approved by the FDA roughly a year after he made the news. Dr. O'Donnell never "gave in" to anyone or anything. He took on any obstacle which impeded the care of his patients. He paid out of his pocket so his patients received the proper medication not covered by an insurer. Dr. O'Donnell was a medical pioneer on Long Island who demanded the highest standards in the care of his patients, not just from himself but the rest of the medical community.
Marion Knott June 27, 2012 at 06:23 PM
So glad your dad waited for the right vaccine. I guess I should have said something to Dr. O'Donnell about the nurse who didn't tell us there was another scale available. I was new to the area with three preschoolers, at the time. I have never heard a negative comment about him. You are a fine son and I know that your dad was proud of all of you. We only have five childen and I would have kept on going except that I had to have a hysterectomy. I remember calling up Fr. Carew for permission and he checked out my Jewish doctors and said it was fine. I am digressing but that's what you do when you are eighty plus. Thanks again for your information. I'll let Lois Plastaras know of your father's passing.
Stephen C. O'Donnell June 27, 2012 at 06:42 PM
Thank you for your interest in my Dad. I can say he did not take to the internet like you have. Five children is a lot, especially these days. Thank you for letting Mrs. Plastaras know of my Dad's passing. My Dad held Dr. Plastaras in very high regard.
jonathan steckler July 06, 2012 at 06:31 PM
What does he religion of your doctor have to do with anything, Marion? Stephen, I have fond memories of your Dad, he was a colleague of my father's and he and your mom were friends with my parents for decades. In fact, your folks were at my Bar Mitzvah in 1976 and my wedding in 1989. Condolences on the loss of your Dad.
Stephen C. O'Donnell July 09, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Hi Jonathan, thank you for your kind words, which I have passed on to my family. Yes, my Mom and Dad considered your parents to be their good friends. Not sure if you heard but my Mom passed away in 2009. I do hope all is well with you and your family. Thank you again for your condolences.

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