John O’Donnell Rosales, R.I.P.


John O’Donnell Rosales, Piki as we all affectionately called him, my cousin, passed away yesterday afternoon following a heart attack. It is an immeasurable loss for our family.

He was the most energetic person I’ve ever met with an incredible love of life and family and who always faced the world with eyes wide open. He was smart as a whip, would be the first one there fighting against any injustice, and wasn’t just a steadfast Patriot and son of America, but a believer and fighter for the freedom of Cuba and her people.

He not only traced our family back for generations and generations but always kept his thumb on our family’s pulse and was always the first with a kind word or gesture, a congratulation or a sincere condolence. Piki was, truly, the absolute best our family had to offer.

Rest in peace, Primo. You’re in good company now.

12 thoughts on “John O’Donnell Rosales, R.I.P.”

  1. OMG! I’m so sorry to hear this! I’m shocked and very sad!

    It’s a small world Val. I knew John. He was originally from Union City and we went together to many anti-castro protests back in the late 80’s, early 90’s! That’s where I met him. I stayed in touch with him until he moved to Alabama. I feel your pain. This news has dampened my joy, the joy that I felt by the victory that we’ve had with the win of Rick Scott, Curbela and Alex Mooney! Poor John, he was so young. Very sad. May God Rest His Soul.

  2. Wow John went to Union Hill High School in Union City a few years after me. He was a true Hiller and Patriot. I had no idea he was related to you. My sincerest condolences, Val. He will be missed and remembered by many.

  3. Very sorry to hear such the sad and shocking news. My condolences to you and your family, Val.
    Will miss him, as I’m sure will all whose lives he touched. Peace to him and the family.
    un abrazo fuerte

  4. I was shocked yesterday when I read the news. My deepest and sincere condolences to your family Val, may he rest in peace in God’s Glory!

  5. So sorry to hear this. Condolences to the family. I never met John in person but we had a few uproarious phone conversations. You could talk to him all night. And he was persuasive, too…I remember he talked me into joining the Sons of Spanish American War Veterans. If I recall correctly, it was through John’s activism that descendants of Mambises were deemed eligible for membership. It breaks my heart that he did not live to see a Free Cuba. He was one-of-a-kind, and he will be missed. QEPD, Hermano.

  6. I was so shocked and saddened to hear of John’s passing. He was such a talented multifaceted man, and seemingly tireless. Best of all he was a wonderful loving, loyal friend to all who knew him. I believe in his heart what he wanted most in this world was to see freedom for the Cuban people. As Joe said, it is heart breaking that he did not live to see that dream realized. My heartfelft condolences to all the family, may God keep his always, and may he rest in peace.
    To know him, listen in to the Blog Talk Radio show, Conversa Cuba dedicated to Cuba Libre, that he co-hosted with Roberto Companioni. There are 68 episodes covering Cuba history, the struggle for human rights and freedom, and many, many interviews. The link is:

  7. I did not know John, but it sounds as if he was one of those exceptional Cubans who make up for many other shitty ones.

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