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FRAMINGHAM – Dean Michael O’Donnell, age 57, died unexpectedly but peacefully in his home on the morning of March 7, 2022.

Born in Easton, PA, he was the son of Cornelius and Lorraine O’Donnell of Easton, PA.

Surviving are his wife Elizabeth Tustian of Framingham, his sister Lori Kichline, nieces Janet and Jerica Kichline, and great-niece Jemma Kichline of PA.

Dean was active in Boy Scouts and attained the rank of Eagle Scout.

He received his BS in Physics at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in 1986, and his MFA in Dramatic Writing at Brandeis University in 1990. He was a published playwright, novelist, and game writer.

His short film, Legwork (2002, starring Tom Luce and Christian Stolte), can be found on YouTube. He was one of the earliest participants in the WPI New Voices Playwriting Festival and wrote many plays for it.

Dean taught for 29 years at WPI and was one of the architects of the Interactive Media and Games Development program. He taught his students the fine art of creating Artificial Reality Games (ARGs) and encouraged them to be creative in designing their own narratives. He never found a puzzle he wasn’t excited to solve. He was a mentor to many aspiring game designers and was passionate about the artistic possibilities of interactive games.

Dean was an avid writer and gamer whose love of creative collaboration and play shone through all aspects of his life. His sense of silliness and fun was immense, and he brought storytelling into everything he did. His stories and humor will be missed.

A celebration of his life is planned for later this spring at WPI and will be announced on this page when details are available.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Dean’s name to the ACLU,

Funeral arrangements are entrusted to the care of Norton Funeral Home in Framingham.

To leave a message of condolence or sign the online guest book, please visit

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By editor

Susan Petroni is the former editor for SOURCE. She is the founder of the former news site, which as of May 1, 2023, is now a self-publishing community bulletin board. The website no longer has a journalist but a webmaster.