Mr. Paul F. O’Donnell Jr., of Centerville, died peacefully Saturday, April 13, 2013 in Norwood Hospital, surrounded by his loving family. While his body weakened over the years, his spirit never waned. He was 78.

Paul, “Binky” to those who knew him well, was born July 19, 1934 in Waltham, a son of the late Paul F. and Katherine E. (Lawless) O’Donnell. A graduate of Waltham High School in 1952, Paul also graduated from the US Army Language School and Boston College with a degree in English. He served as a linguist and practiced this trade while stationed in Frankfurt, Germany during the Hungarian Revolution. Paul loved language, especially word play — a crossword puzzle was a regular companion.

On May 30, 1959 in Saint Mary’s Church in Waltham he married Joan P. Main, the love of his life. Together they led a life blessed with children, grandchildren, and faced all of life’s many triumphs and tribulations together, side by side. Joan’s strength and tenacious love provided Paul great comfort and care these last few years.

His professional career began in sales at Dell Publishing in New York City where he worked for many years. He then started his own publishing company, Litus Publications Inc., based in Connecticut and later worked in real estate. These positions brought the family to live in Connecticut, primarily in Wilton where he, Joan and the family made lifelong friends. In 2001 Paul and Joan moved to the Cape full-time. Despite his many years in Connecticut, Paul remained a loyal and die-hard Red Sox fan, even in the lean years!

He was also a self-taught and talented pianist. Nothing was more memorable and enjoyable than watching Binky play the piano, with Paul Curtis and Donny Vautour accompaniment. Their audiences treated to ragtime, oldies, and a few Irish tunes for good measure, and a resounding chorus of “just one more.”

Retirement to the Cape found a renewed passion in gardening for Paul. He loved working in the yard and his many gardens. He also enjoyed golfing. His best friends in life include Don and Connie Vautour of Maine, the late Paul Curtis and his wife, Dotty of Waltham, and his classmate, the late John (“Jack”) Doherty. He was a longtime friend of Bill W.

He is predeceased by his sister, Mary L. Casey, one of the great sadnesses of his life.

In addition to his wife of almost 54 years, Joan, he leaves his children, Tracey A. Robbins and her husband, David, of Walpole; Paul F. O’Donnell III of Charlestown, Amy L. O’Donnell of Bethel, Connecticut and Meghan M. O’Donnell and her husband, Mark Joyce of Richmond, Vermont; his sister, Katherine A. Byrne and her husband, Joseph, of Marblehead; his grandchildren, Christopher and Jennifer Robbins, Margaret, Katherine and Abigail Bozzuti, Evan and Samuel Joyce; his brother-in-laws, Thomas Casey of Waltham and Arthur Main of Cleveland, Ohio; and many loving nieces and nephews.

Family and friends will honor and remember Paul’s life by gathering for calling hours in The Joyce Funeral Home, 245 Main Street (Route 20), Waltham on Wednesday, April 17th from 4 to 8 p.m. and again on Thursday morning at 9:30 a.m. before leaving in procession to Our Lady Help of Christians Church, 573 Washington Street, Newton, where his Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Burial will follow in Calvary Cemetery, Waltham.

Paul brought love, charm, warmth and a smile to all he encountered, especially to the nurses who cared for him in his later years but always to his first and favorite nurse, his wife Joan. Memorials in his name may be made to St. Elizabeth School of Nursing Alumni Association Scholarship, in c/o Patricia O’Connor Dolan, 10 Keel Cape Drive, South Yarmouth, MA 02664.