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
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
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
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: