Debra “Debi” Lynn O’Donnell (Bird), 64, died peacefully in her sleep on September 9th, 2019 at Ivinson Memorial Hospital in Laramie, Wyoming after a five month battle with cancer. In her final days, she was surrounded by her loving husband, Greg, of 45 years, her son and daughter, father, sister, members of her extended family and her dearest friends.
Born March 17th, 1955 in Laramie, Wyoming to Don and Dorothy Bird, Debi was the older of two girls. Growing up, she and her family enjoyed traveling cross country to watch the University of Wyoming Cowboy Basketball team, taking trips in the camper and singing next to the campfire as a family. Through high school, Debi enjoyed participating in music classes, had a love for ballet and held a job at Gibson’s Discount Center. During her senior year, in 1973, she met the love of her life, Greg and together they were able to graduate and receive their diplomas. After high school, Debi pursued a degree in music from the University of Wyoming on a vocal scholarship. After six months of college, Debi and Greg decided to tie the knot in a church ceremony on August 18th, 1974. Following the wedding, Debi decided to take an alternate path, away from the college environment to work for United Building Centers. She worked hard, but knew how to play and trips to the lake with friends during the weekends were a must. In July of 1977, Debi gave birth to their first son, Chad. In October of 1979, Debi joined Beta Sigma Phi and was an active member for over 23 years, holding various offices.
In 1980, Debi began working alongside her mother to learn the processes behind managing the financial books for Bird Enterprises while Greg operated O’Donnell Trucking and Excavating. In 1984, Debi and Greg took ownership of the family owned businesses and together established, Bird O’Donnell Construction. While Greg took care of managing the labor, Debi maintained the books meticulously and diligently. She loved “working in the office” and found satisfaction in making sure the financials were organized and timely. 40 years in business together and 46 years in love.
1981 marked the beginning of a 39 year old tradition of taking “girls’ trips” with her closest girlfriends. For Debi, her girlfriends, also known as “the posse” was her extended family.
In April of 1984, Debi gave birth to their daughter Cassidy. As her children grew, Debi made them a priority and dedicated her time to attending band concerts and volleyball games. Debi was the same with her grandchildren, making it a point to attend their school plays, sporting events and concerts. When her grandson was diagnosed with cancer at the age of five, she never hesitated to drop everything so that she could lend a hand. She was always there.
Later on in their marriage, Debi and Greg continued to enjoy traveling; taking motorcycle trips together and “geriatric” motorcycle trips in their Miata. Annual trips with the camper to Arizona and South Dakota with their friends were something they really looked forward to. However, staying in their camper at Woodslanding on the weekends during the warmer months was their kind of “heaven.”
Debi left our lives feeling the love that she gave to everyone throughout her lifetime. Her ability to love unconditionally will truly be missed.
Debi is preceded in death by her mother, Dorothy Lee Bird, who passed in November.
Debi is survived by her husband, Greg of Laramie; two children, Chad O’Donnell (Sarah O’Donnell) of Cheyenne and Cassidy Biggs (Mitchell Biggs) of Laramie; four grandchildren, Ben, Toby, Austin and Liam; her father, Don Bird of Laramie; her sister, Donna Crandall (Gary Crandall) of Laramie; her nephew, Shon Crandall (Carter Crandall) of Spokane, Washington; two nieces, Jennifer Bird Crandall (Nathan Hamilton) of Westminster, Colorado and Megan Crandall of Troy, Alabama.
Private memorial services will be held at the home of Debi and Greg and in Woodslanding where Debi shared many treasured moments and “shopnics” with her family and friends.
In Lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Jason’s Friends Foundation in Casper, Wyoming for their support of families in Wyoming caring for a child with cancer. Condolences may be sent to P.O. Box 1692, Laramie, Wyoming 82073.
Greg, Chad, Cassidy, Don and all the family, our hearts are all saddened. She will forever will be remembered as the most amazing woman. Her spirit continues to shine but she will be missed by us all. Keeping you all in our prayers. Dominic and Mardell Aragon and Shelley, Tracy, Brian
Thinking of you all. Deryl and Sue Woirhaye
My sincerest sympathies to Debi O’Donnell’s family. She was a very special person. Kind, caring, thoughtful and loving. A bright spot in my life was when I worked for Debi and Greg. They treated me and my family like one of the family. I learned a lot. Debi is forever in my heart. Greg, Don, Donna, Chad and Cassidy and families - thank you for sharing your angel. She is now watching over you from above. Treasure your memories. I’m so sorry for your loss. Prayers and Hugs. / Crystal
Thank you so much.
My deepest sympathies to you Greg. You and Debbie had always been there for my mom and Donnie. If there is anything you need don’t hesitate to call me! Your in our Hart’s and prayers. Tim and Sandra Rodriguez
So saddened to learn of Debi's passing. I don't remember ever seeing her without a smile, from our days at LHS to the last time we spoke at Walmart. She was a wonderful bright spot in this world and she will continue to shine from the heavens. She was loved by all and will be missed by everyone whose lives she touched so graciously. Praying for strength and healing for her family during this difficult time.
So sorry for your loss. Debi was the epitome of a beautiful person. Beautiful both inside and out. Love and prayers for your family.
Debi, Even as a child you were generous and kind . I have fond memories of the times we spent playing together. Thank you for making a new kid feel welcome. My deepest condolences to your family and friends. I know you will be sorely missed.
To the family: we would like to express out condolences for your loss. Donna, Greg, and Don we know how much family means to you and we hope the joyd that Debi gave you will be remembered in your time of sorrow.
I am deeply saddened at your loss. She touched so many lives and was a warm and genuine woman.
So sorry for your loss.
I have many fond memories of Debi when we were in Beta Sigma Phi together. I saw Debi not long ago at Walmart where we chatted. I had no idea she was ill...she was her usual friendly self. I am so sorry for your loss.
Deb was a good person friendly and respectful treated my father and husband good they both worked with her, 1 at ubc and 1 at bird odonnell. RIP Debbie you will be missed.
Wishing you memories to comfort you. We are thinking of you now and in the days ahead. With deepest sympathies- Mark & Brenda McKinney
Greg and family - so sorry to hear of Debi's passing. It has been many years since High School at LHS, but many of those memories are still very fresh to me. My thoughts are with you and you family at this difficult time.
I was saddened to hear of Debi's passing. She was always so cheerful and had a smile for everyone. Always stopping to say hi and ask how things were going. She will be missed. Condolences to her family.
To the O'Donnell and Bird Family, So sorry to hear about Debbie's passing. Prayers for all the family.
Don, Dona, & Greg, I am very sorry for your loss. Debi was a very special person. I grieve with you. Rob Mauk
Debi was a wonderful lady. Always having a smile on her face. Debi will be missed by her family and her many friends. There will be a real void in her circle. Hugs and blessings to Her family.
Dear Greg, Chad, Cassidy and family, My deepest condolences on your loss. Debi was always a bright light in any setting. Her sense of fun was infectious, and I'm so glad we had the opportunity to grow up together in a setting filled with music. I still have many good memories of Plainsman Singers, Girls Trio, and especially your wedding. Her legacy lives on in Chad, Cassidy, and those precious grandchildren. I am thankful, and she will be missed.
Dear Don, Greg, and family. I was too saddened by the news of Debi's passing. Our families had a lot of great times together and those will always be in our hearts. My condolences to the family in this sad time. She will be missed and loved by all her family and friends. Randy & Jan Martin
Our deepest sympathies for your loss. Leonard J. Dietz and family
Dear Don and family, I was saddened to read the obituary in the paper today. I have fond memories of you, Dorothy and your girls. Pinochle night at our house was always a rousing time for me and my sisters. A bunch of men laughing and playing cards. I baby sat a few time for the girls. I remember you building your cinderblock shop and more. Debi has been in contact with me on and off over the years. Growing up in West Laramie was a "good" thing for all of us. It sounds like she had a fulfilling life and of course will be missed by all of you. My condolences to all that loved her. Kathleen Clymer Ed and Edith Clymer's youngest daughter
Our deepest sympathies. Deb was kind and a giving person.