Lion of the Derwent Valley passes away

Leon O’Donnell in his
navy days.

THE Derwent Valley lost one of its most passionate advocates with the death of Leon O’Donnell last weekend, aged 80. Born in 1939, he lived his early years in Maydena, served in the Royal Australian Navy and worked at Australian Newsprint Mills for many years.

He fought for the rights of returned servicemen and women, and served his community as a local government councillor and sporting administrator. He was a keen historian with a passion for Tasmania’s Irish background, which he shared with the eminent Australian author Thomas Keneally.

A keen writer, he was the author of the Derwent Valley Gazette’s football reports for a number of years and later provided articles on points of historical interest from the Young Irelander movement to Ikey Solomon and Betty King.

Leon died on May 31 after a long illness and was privately cremated. He is survived by his wife Carole, daughters Karen and Kelly, and their families. An obituary will be published at a later date.

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