Lisa M. McDonnell, 55, of Dubuque, Iowa passed on Tuesday, March 14, 2023, surrounded by her loving family at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics in Iowa City, Iowa after a courageous battle with myelodysplastic syndrome, a rare and incurable form of blood cancer.
Visitation for Lisa will be held from 9 to 11 a.m., Saturday, March 18, 2023, at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Garryowen, Iowa, where a Mass of Christian Burial for Lisa will be held at 11 a.m. with Rev. Mark Osterhaus presiding and Assisting Deacon, Ray Noonan. Burial will follow in St. Patrick’s Cemetery. The Reiff Funeral Home in Peosta is assisting the family with arrangements.
She was born January 26, 1968, in Dubuque, Iowa, daughter of Charles and Mary Lou (Richard) Putchio. She was a graduate of Wahlert High School in Dubuque, Iowa. She continued her education by obtaining an Associate of Arts degree from Northeast Iowa Community College, a Bachelor of Arts degree from Loras College, and a Master of Arts and a Master of Science degree from Kaplan University. She was very proud of her academic accomplishments, but it’s what she did with her education that fulfilled her. She thrived as a special education teacher for 13 years in the Dubuque and Iowa City Community School Districts. She worked tirelessly for all of her students with special needs as each one held a precious place in her heart. After teaching, she transitioned to assisting adults with disabilities as a Case Manager/Social Worker at Area Residential Care. Lisa always felt drawn to helping others in need and would put the needs of others before her own.
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Her other passion was her family. Lisa found “her person” and married Patrick Leroy McDonnell on May 14, 2004, at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Garryowen, Iowa. They were a team in every sense of the word, from raising three daughters together, to tackling home décor projects that Lisa found on Pinterest, to experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen, and having sleepovers with Charlie and Annabelle. “Nana Lisa” treasured every minute with them as well as cherished sister days with Beth and the special lunches with mom and dad.
Lisa is survived by her husband, Patrick McDonnell of Dubuque; three daughters, Karissa (Josh) Wernimont of Dubuque, Katherine (Scott) Streif of Pella, and Kassidy (Jacob) Townsend of Dubuque; six grandchildren, Charlie Fassbinder, and Annabelle Wernimont of Dubuque, Leo, Walter, Emmett, and Hannah Streif of Pella; her parents, Charles and Mary Lou Putchio of Dubuque; four siblings, Beth (Tim) Rolwes of Peosta, Christy (Dan) Watson of Dubuque, Sarah (Bart) McGhee of Encinitas, CA, and Brian (Teresa) Putchio of Asbury; brothers and Sisters-in-law, Rick McDonnell, Phyllis McDonnell, and J.J. McDonnell all of Bernard, Tom McDonnell and Kathy McDonnell both of Cascade, and Charlie (Kate) Ries of Strawberry Point; one nephew, Noah Rolwes; four nieces, Monica Putchio, Shay, Lindsey, and Morrigan McGhee.
She is preceded in death by a sister, Mary Lynn Putchio, father and mother-in-law, Ignatius and Carmelene McDonnell-Decker.
Special thanks to all the people who sent Lisa cards and visited her while sick. Another big thank you to the doctors, nurses, and staff at the Carbone Cancer Center, UW Health in Madison, WI, the Mayo Clinic, the MercyOne Dubuque Cancer Center, especially, MercyOne ICU, and University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics ICU for their wonderful care and kind support for Lisa.
In lieu of flowers, a Lisa M. McDonnell memorial fund has been established.
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