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In Loving Memory


Rhea McDonnell
September 29, 1929 – February 4, 2020

Rhea McDonnell, 90, of Brea, California, passed away on February 4th in her home while surrounded by loved ones.


She was predeceased by her husband, John G. McDonnell; daughter, Mary Ann; and son, Paul; siblings Gene Jennings and Kay McAndrew.


She is survived by her daughters, Michele and Margaret; six sons, Tom, Gene, Jack, Dennis, Jerry, and Bob; twelve grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews. 


Rhea grew up in Scranton, PA where she attended Minooka High School and later worked as a telephone operator before marrying in 1951 and moving to California in 1960. She spent most of her life as a dedicated homemaker to her husband and nine children but eventually enjoyed employment as a cafeteria worker at Sonora High School in Fullerton. She and her husband made a comfortable home for their family in Norwalk and later Brea.


She is remembered as someone of great faith, as she was an active parishioner at St. Angela Merici Catholic Church in Brea. There, she participated in choir, Pals, and volunteered regularly at the A.C.T Office. She attended Mass daily and made many friends throughout the years.


Rhea enjoyed birthday and holiday lunches with her friends, shopping with her two daughters, finding a good garage sale, cooking a roast for her family on Sunday afternoons, and being the one her grandchildren could go to for ice cream and chocolate.


She found special joy in visiting with her three siblings. Though they lived three thousand miles away, Rhea made it her mission to see them often. Their road trips to Las Vegas and Branson, MO, as well as their cruises to Bermuda and vacations to Hawaii and Ireland created lasting memories. Their love for one another ran deeply and was evident in the laughter they enjoyed and the kindness they extended while in each other’s company.


Rhea will be remembered for her friendliness, sense of humor, generosity, and kindness. 



February 19, 2020

4pm - 7pm

Rosary at 6pm

Queen of Heaven Cemetery and Mortuary

2161 Fullerton Road

Roland Heights, CA


Funeral Mass:

February 20, 2020


St. Angela Merici Catholic Church

585 S. Walnut Avenue

Brea, CA


A tax-deductible charitable donation may be made in memory of Rhea McDonnell to the Alzheimer's Association. Online donations at Https://



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