“In one of those stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so, it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night. And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me. You will always be my friend…I shall not leave you.” - Antoine de Saint-Exupery – The Little Prince.
James Donnelly closed the book on the final chapter of his amazing life on February 2, 2021, with his children at his side. Our Lord and Savior stopped by to pick up Jim in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, where he was surrounded by constant love during his final months. Jim is now visiting with his wife of 64 years, Josi. His mom, dad and brother Joe, and his favorite author Colleen McCullough.
Jim was a person of faith and lived life serving others. In his early 20’s, one of Jim’s co-workers told him that he needed to serve his community by joining Kiwanis. He later joined the Jaycees and Knights of Columbus. Jim was a 3rd Level Knight with the Knights of Columbus and after moving to Florida was two weeks away from becoming a Grand Knight when a hurricane hit Florida and changed everything. He held various offices with the Kiwanis and the Springfield Jaycees. Jim also volunteered at St. John’s Hospital, and later, Wuestoff Hospital in Melbourne, FL.
When Jim and Josi moved to Florida, they saw a need for a social group for seniors… they started the 55+ Club at Satellite Beach. Jim was also instrumental in organizing the Senior Club at One Senior Place in Viera, Florida – which continues to grow due to his passion for serving. He told them….if you build it, they will come. And indeed, he got the seniors there.
Jim proudly served his country by enlisting in the Army. He served during the Korean Conflict. He often says those were one the best times of his life.
Jim worked at Central Illinois Public Service Company for over 39 years. After much pressure from Josi and his children, he was blessed to be able to retire at a young age.
Jim is preceded in death by his wife, Josette, parents Harry and Esther, and one brother, Joe. Jim leaves behind four loving children: James, Jr., Springfield, IL, Kathleen (Charles) Gowin of Hilton Head, SC, Tracy (Edward) Svihla of Jacksonville, FL, John (Pam) Donnelly of Rockford, IL , and brother William Donnelly of Delafield, WI. Grandchildren Ashlee (John) Cleve and Shaun (Amanda) Donnelly. Great Grandchildren Easton James Cleve and Emery Cleve.
To my loving children and brother – I know you will miss me…God will hold your hand. Death takes the body, God takes the soul, our minds hold the memories, our heart keeps the love. Our faith lets us know we will meet again.
James and Josette Donnelly will be buried at a later date at The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific located at Punchbowl Crater in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Dad, from your children - - As we the family say good-bye for now to our beloved Dad, we want to thank you for being the man that you were to all of us. We will miss your devilish smile and your keen observations. Your sense of humor was like no other. We let you go with heavy hearts, but light spirits, as we know you are resting comfortably now with those you love who went before you. We will see you soon……but hopefully not too soon !!