April 3, 1922 – May 22, 2009
“Anything is possible.” That is what Jimmie D. Donaldson
believed about life. He was a creative man, a perpetual inventor, who seemed to
be able to find a solution for any difficulty confronting him. He had faith in
his ability to find those solutions. Jimmie thoroughly enjoyed understanding how
things worked. He possessed an inquisitive, confident, and rational nature
matched with a versatile and agile mind. Jimmie was a person who believed that
he could achieve whatever he set out to do.
His parents were Samuel J. and Anna Chastine Donaldson. Jimmie was born
and raised in Dayton, Ohio. He showed his ingenuity even as a
child. When he was confronted with a problem, Jimmie could develop an
imaginative solution, and he derived satisfaction from knowing he had that
ability. This same talent for finding solutions had a positive bearing on Jimmie's family relationships.
Jimmie was raised with three siblings. He had two older brothers and one older
sister. When a difficult situation or dilemma arose within the family, Jimmie
was always there to help figure out a solution for making things work.
Endowed with an appetite for knowing how his world worked,
Jimmie enjoyed school, especially when the learning experience involved
dissecting and probing the unknown. Jimmie was adept at scrutinizing different
possibilities and designing innovative solutions. He enjoyed some courses more
than others, having favorite classes and teachers. In addition to performing his
studies, during his high school years, Jimmy was a Lightweight Golden Gloves
Because he was a quick thinker and adept at picking up on new
things, Jimmie performed well in college. He was always on a quest for knowledge
and he relished the experience. Theories intrigued him, and he was good at
solving complex problems. He always wanted to understand rather than judge. The
U. S. Navy sent Jimmy to electronics school at Northwestern University.
Jimmie found love when he met Jeanne. They were married on February 14, 1946 at their Methodist
church in Chicago, Illinois.
Jimmie was adept at devising original and creative ways to enhance
and improve the marriage partnership. Jimmie was seldom a critical person, but
rather the one who was able to bring out the best in others. Jimmie was an
entertaining conversationalist who was quick to respond to his spouse's needs.
He was a vibrant personality and he enjoyed verbally sparring with Jeanne. In
fact, those who knew him often remarked that Jimmie loved to argue for
argument's sake. He was very perceptive in recognizing others' feelings,
especially regarding Jeanne's.
Jimmie's remarkable talent for being inventive influenced his
relationship with his children. He would create original, clever and fun games
for his kids and had a knack for finding ways to make everyday events, even
chores, enjoyable to them. Jimmie and Jeanne were blessed with two children, a
daughter, Minette and a son, Curtis. They were also blessed with nine
grandchildren, Aaron (Jennifer), Eric (Lisa), Shawn (Andrea), Jacob, Amanda,
Megan, Kenneth, Nathaniel and Allison; and four great grandchildren; Ewan,
Andrew, Eva, and Zachary.
Someone who was quick to laugh, Jimmie found it easy to spend lots of time with his
children, but he was never overbearing or guilty of pushing himself on them.
As a born inventor, Jimmie was definitely in his element in
his work place. He could easily create new and innovative systems, and
incorporate those changes to bring a fresh approach to any work situation.
Jimmie was a focused worker with a strong drive for achievement. He could assess
all of the options before him and, using his analytical skills, could
comfortably find answers that no one else had even considered. His personal
initiative inspired those around him. Jimmie was always good at getting a
project started and then, at the appropriate time, handing it on to a colleague.
His primary occupation was a Journeyman Electrician. He was a member of the IBEW
Local # 134 for 55 years. Jimmie always made an effort to be a team player,
doing what needed was necessary in order to get the job done.
Jimmie's “never say die”attitude and his ability to face any
challenge no matter how difficult it might be were tremendous assets that Jimmie
carried with him into the military. Jimmie was a veteran of the U. S. Navy,
Jimmie saw action for 10 major invasions aboard LST 269. He achieved the rank of
Radioman Second Class.
Jimmie's passion for finding a better way to do things
was often an end in itself for him. In fact, that interest by itself became
something of a hobby for this perpetual problem solver. Since Jimmie was always
searching for new and unusual activities, he developed many interests and
leisure pursuits. Some of the things he became an “expert” in might come as a
surprise to those who knew him, but most friends and family understood that
Jimmie simply couldn't be limited to just a few activities or ideas.
His favorite pursuits were many and varied. Jimmy was involved in motorcycles, once
owning a Harley and then several other motorcycles. He also liked sailing and
stained glass. Jimmy worked his own leather craft, and gardened, albeit in his
own style. He was an award winning member of the Vintage Chevy Club of America.
Jimmy became active in any club he joined. Jimmy may say that one of his best
accomplishments was that he was a founding member of the Chicago Colts Fast Draw
Association. Jimmy was also an active member of the Oak Park Sportsman's
Jimmie was continually concerned with the status of local, national and even world affairs.
His keen interest and strong values led him to become active in his community. In addition to his many
interests around the country, Jimmy also served in his own neighborhood, being
active in the Canters Homeowners Association.
With all of his talents, his ingenuity, his solutions and
inventiveness, it is no surprise that Jimmie received public recognition for his
competence. With the drive and ability to meet any challenge, Jimmie accumulated
a long list of achievements throughout his life. Some of his most prestigious
awards included his Golden Gloves Championship, his vintage Chevy awards, and
his many shooting championships.
Having the opportunity to visit and explore a new place always intrigued Jimmie.
Traveling and going away on vacations offered yet another opportunity for Jimmie
to expand his ever-growing inventory of knowledge. Jimmy & Jeanne traveled
to and through all 50 states. Favorite vacations included Hawaii and Hemlock
Islandon Magician Lake in Dowagiac, Michigan.
Jimmie passed away on May 22, 2009 at home, surrounded by members of
his family. Jimmie fought a brave battle against cancer. He is survived by his
daughter, Minette (Don) Baker and son Curtis (Tammy) Donaldson; and their
children Aaron (Jennifer), Eric (Lisa), Shawn (Andrea), Jacob, Amanda, Megan,
Kenneth, Nathaniel and Allison. Jimmy was also very proud of his
great-grandchildren Ewan, Andrew, Eva and Zachary.
During his lifetime, nothing appeared impossible to Jimmie. He met
the words “it can't be done” with the enthusiastic challenge of a “wanna bet”
attitude. Jimmie was able to recognize the possibilities a new idea held, even
when those around him could not. For Jimmie, the traditional way of doing things
fell short of his expectations, especially if there were original and untested
methods for handling a challenge. For Jimmie D. Donaldson, the fun of living his
life could be found in the challenge.