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Dr. Thomas F. McDonnell, 53, Lackawanna school superintendent since 1984, died Sunday (Dec. 2, 1990) in his home following a lengthy illness.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered Friday in St. Clare's Catholic Church in Dunmore, Pa., McDonnell's hometown.

During his tenure as superintendent, McDonnell was involved in the expansion and renovation of Lackawanna High School and in curriculum improvement programs. He was one of five finalists earlier this year for the position of Buffalo school superintendent.

McDonnell's brother, Eugene of Dunmore, said today that McDonnell had been waiting for several months for a kidney and liver transplant.

The Lackawanna School Board named an interim superintendent to fill in for McDonnell in August, but McDonnell returned to work in mid-September and continued to work full time until his death, said Barbara A. Rosinski, School Board clerk. She said he worked a full day Friday.

"He was a very knowledgeable superintendent, very brilliant," Mrs. Rosinski said. "He was always reading, always trying to instill new ideas."

McDonnell received his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Scranton and his doctorate from Pennsylvania State University.

He was a teacher, assistant principal, principal and superintendent in the Dunmore School District outside Scranton from 1962 until 1974.

Before coming to Lackawanna in 1984, McDonnell was superintendent of the Mid-Valley School District in Pennsylvania.

McDonnell was a lecturer at the University of Scranton, and at Lackawanna (Pa.) Junior College and Penn State. He was also a member of the American Association of School Administrators, the National and State School Boards associations, the New York State Superintendents Association, the American Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development, the New York State Association of School Business Officers and the advisory board of a branch of Penn State University.

McDonnell served in Korea with the Army and was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion.

Surviving, besides his brother, is his mother, Anne McDonnell, also of Dunmore.

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