Maureen O’Donnell became the Chicago Sun-Times’ obituary writer in 2009. She served as president of the Society of Professional Obituary Writers from 2015-2018. Prior to becoming the paper’s obits writer, she spent 20 years as a general assignment reporter, during which she wrote about crumbling conditions in Chicago schools, Mississippi River flooding and the Jeffrey Dahmer slayings. Before joining the Sun-Times, she was a criminal courts reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, an associate editor at Adweek magazine, and a reporter and editor at the City News Bureau of Chicago. A Chicago native and graduate of Loyola University’s Mundelein College, her journalism awards include the Chicago Headline Club’s Anne Keegan Award, SPOW awards for obituary writing, the Illinois Associated Press Editors Association public service reporting award, the Illinois Gold Bell Award from the Mental Health Association in Illinois, a Lisagor award and obituary writing awards from the Illinois Press Association. She believes obituaries have some of the best writing in newspapers and online, and that they’re both send-offs and storytelling from eyewitnesses to history.