News & Events

Dr. J.D. O’Donnell Memorial Service

All friends and former students of Dr. J.D. O’Donnell, as well as the entire Randall community, are invited to join us on Thursday, January 29 at 10:40am in the large auditorium in the Barber Center for a memorial service in honor of our former Randall president. The service will include testimonies, tributes, special music, and a memorial message. We hope you’ll join us.

Obituary for Dr. John Daniel O’Donnell

J. D. O’Donnell was born in St. Clair county, Alabama, on April 5, 1929; he went to his eternal reward on November 29, 2014. His parents were Alfred and Rhondor O’Donnell. After graduation from high school he attended Bob Jones University where he completed a B. A. degree in three years. He later continued his education at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary where he completed B. D. and Th.D. degrees.

Dr. O’Donnell was involved in Christian higher education for much of his career. He served as a professor at Free Will Baptist Bible College (now Welch College) from 1961-1965. In 1965 he became president of Randall University (known then as Oklahoma Bible College) where he served until 1971. Under his leadership Randall was relocated to the current campus three miles south of Moore, Oklahoma. He was an outstanding educator who contributed much to the lives of his students and to the cause of higher education among Free Will Baptists.

He was the author of five books and co-author of two. Several of his books, such as Faith for Today, and Handbook for Deacons, are still in use today. He held a number of positions within the Free Will Baptist denomination including membership on the Radio-TV Commission, Chaplain’s Commission, and Commission on Theological Liberalism. He served as Editorial Manager of the Free Will Baptist Sunday School Department. He also served as Assistant Moderator of the National Association from 1969-1970 and as Moderator from 1971-76.

Dr. O’Donnell was also successful as a pastor, serving five different Free Will Baptist churches between 1949 and 1973. In the closing years of his ministry, he pastored successfully in the United Methodist denomination. He retired from pastoral ministry for the last time at age 78.

During his time as president of Oklahoma Bible College, the students dedicated the 1969 Harvester to him. The editorial staff wrote these words in tribute to him,

During these years Dr. O’Donnell has faced seemingly insurmountable problems in the construction of the present campus and in the maintenance of a quality educational program. Yet, he has always maintained his characteristic air of quiet confidence. It is in recognition of a difficult job well done that we, the students of Oklahoma Bible College, dedicate this 1969 Harvester to Dr. J. D. O’Donnell.

He was a special man who contributed to the cause of Christ in many different ways. He will be missed. He is survived by his wife, Jean, and his two sons, Dan and Daryl.

Dr. Thomas L. Marberry
Friend and Former Student