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HUGH W. O’DONNELL

Hugh W. O’Donnell, 68, passed away suddenly on February 26, 2006 in Ft. Bend County, Texas. Hugh was born in Shreveport, Louisiana on February 11, 1938. He is preceded in death by his parents, Lawrence and Annette (Toups) O’Donnell, and his brother, Herman Stansbury.

Hugh was devoted to his family, his friends and his career. Hugh’s passion for flying and history was passed on to everyone he touched. A recognized expert in the field of using horizontal directional drilling (HDD) for pipeline construction under waterways and other obstructions, Hugh worked in a number of countries throughout his career.

He worked with engineering, pipeline transmission and pipeline construction companies, such as United Gas Pipeline Co., Texas Eastern Transmission Corp., Pyburn & Odom Inc., Titan Constructors Corp., and Reading & Bates Construction Co., and he worked on the Mile-by-Mile Design Team for the Trans Alaska Pipeline System. In 1991, Hugh received two patents for underwater pipe alignment and connection devices.

He was a founder, President and CEO of SPIE Horizontal Drilling from 1984 until retiring in 1992 to begin his consulting firm, O’Donnell Associates, Inc. Hugh received his Bachelors and Masters of Science Degrees in Civil Engineering from Louisiana Polytechnic University (now Louisiana Tech) in Ruston, Louisiana in 1963 and 1965, respectively. He was involved in the establishment of the Louisiana Tech Trenchless Technology Center (TTC) in 1990 and was a member of the Industry Advisory Board for Civil Engineering and for the TTC.

Hugh received the Distinguished Civil Engineering Alumnus Award in 1991. A long-time member of the ASCE, Hugh worked on committees, authored papers and spoke at numerous engineering programs.

He also was a member of the Pipe Liners Club of Houston, the Gulf Coast Trenchless Association, and the North American Society for Trenchless Technology. Hugh’s love of flying developed at an early age as he watched the WWII “Warbirds” flying over his house in the 1940’s.

His dream of learning to fly came true when he received his first flying lessons as an award for his participation in high school ROTC. Throughout college, Hugh was active in the Wings and Props Flying Club at Louisiana Tech and he received his private pilot license in 1964.

He regularly flew his 1977 Cessna 182, which he has owned since 1984, but his real love was the 1945 Piper L-4, that he and two friends recently restored. Hugh’s interest in history and authenticity led to the plane’s appearance as a member of the US Army 36th Infantry Division, which was based in Texas.

In recent months Hugh had the honor of flying several WWII pilots in the L-4, bringing back memories to them and enhancing his own experience and knowledge of that era.

Hugh liked to share his interest in flying with others and he did so through his participation in the Commemorative Air Force, which maintains and flies WWII airplanes, and the EAA Young Eagles program, which enabled him to give the first flying experience to children.

He was very proud when his wife, Barbara, and his good friend, Len Franklin, each achieved their private pilot rankings.

Hugh is survived by his wife of 13 years, Barbara Britt O’Donnell, and by their son, James Britt (USAF – stationed in Korea) and his wife, Marlene of Monterey, California. He is also survived by his sisters, Shirley Singeltary and husband Dalton of Beaumont, Texas, and Jean Anderson and husband Don of Jacksonville, Florida. Additional survivors include brothers-in-law Steve Tuggle and wife Paulette of Pearland; Mark Tuggle of Deer Park; Kenneth Tuggle and wife Dana of Friendswood; his mother-in-law Rita Tuggle of Pearland and numerous nieces and nephews.

A Memorial Service was held at Forest Park East Funeral Home, 21620 Gulf Freeway, Webster, Texas on March 1. Visitation preceded the Memorial Service at 7:30 PM. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Young Eagles program or to the Commemorative Air Force or to a charity of your choice.

Servicers under the direction of Forest Park East Funeral Home, 21620 Gulf Freeway, Webster, Texas 77498. Phone: 281-332-3111.

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