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May 20, 1917 – Oct. 20, 2013

Faith B. McDonnell, who was instrumental in establishing a Meals on Wheels service route in the Southtowns, died Sunday in her East Aurora home after a lengthy illness. She was 96.

Born Faith Bickford in Scarborough, Ont., she was a child when her parents immigrated to Buffalo. She attended the Heathcliffe Boarding School in Ascott, England.

In 1941, she married John Q. McDonnell. The couple lived in South Wales before moving to East Aurora shortly after the conclusion of World War II.

Mrs. McDonnell and her family spent many summers in the Muskoka region of Ontario, where they owned a lakeside cottage.

She was a consummate tennis player, winning numerous tournaments with her husband in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, and was a member of the Garrett Club of Buffalo, where she often played a competitive game of bridge.

She and her husband were members of the Crag Burn Golf Club, East Aurora Country Club and Aurora Swimming Club, as well as charter members of the Aurora Paddle Tennis Club of East Aurora.

In 1985, she and her husband, who had been regular volunteer drivers for Meals on Wheels, established a small route in the greater East Aurora area with the help of a few core volunteers. The agency now serves several hundred residents daily.

She was a parishioner of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church for more than 60 years – attending daily Mass until her health deteriorated in recent years, and a former member of its Parish Council.

Her husband of 54 years died in 1995.

Survivors include five sons, Thomas, John B., Edward, Peter and Patrick; and three daughters, Mary Ordal, Jean Covelli and Nancy Reynolds.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Friday in Immaculate Conception Church, 520 Oakwood Ave., East Aurora.