Monday, March 20, 2023

James McDonnell, 78

| May 28, 2021 1:00 AM

James Eugene McDonnell, EdD, born May 26, 1943, passed on May 18, 2021 at the Schneidmiller House in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, after a year-long battle with cancer.

Anyone knowing Jim knew him as caring, funny and smart. He was a “character”: that person who could engage you with a smile and a laugh, whether you were a longtime friend or the cashier at checkout. His passions were “anything trains,” photography (film and digital), fly fishing, Idaho, strong coffee, ales with “legs,” yet best of all, conversations with friends.

Though Jim spent years in higher education as VP or CFO, he was most proud of his accomplishments as a younger teacher in the mountains of northern California. He felt teaching high school was an honor, to guide young minds. He turned that initial passion into a lifelong pursuit, teaching at colleges as far-ranging as South Carolina, Ohio, Nevada, and finally again in California, building and learning with each experience.

In the past several years, Jim had renewed his faith with Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, and was actively involved at Trinity Lutheran Church of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, where Jim resided.

Jim is survived by his wife Leslie; son Colonel John McDonnell (Ret.) and wife Susan, and their children and grandchildren; son Benjamin McDonnell; and stepdaughters Vanessa Bartlett and Chelsea Shanders.

Donations only in any form to a hospice facility near you.

Yates Funeral Home has been entrusted with final arrangements. Please visit Jim’s online memorial and sign his guestbook at

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