James (Jim) Anthony McDonough slipped away Thursday morning in Tacoma at age of 88. He was born on March 25, 1930 in Tacoma, WA. Jim was a marine during the Korean Conflict and awarded the Purple Heart. Jim worked for the Tacoma Police Dept and retired as a Deputy Chief after 25 years of service. He was preceded in death by his loving wife Greta. He will be remembered through his 5 children; James, Michael, Carol, Edward and Elizabeth. Jim had 11 Grandchildren and 13.5 Great-Grandchildren (in May).
Service will be held at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Church in Tacoma on Thursday January 24th; 10:30 Rosary and 11:00AM Mass. Reception to follow.
Arrangements by Gaffney Funeral Home
My Daddy, My Buddy James A. McDonough
By his #5… “Just One More Thing”
My daddy, Jim, was born in Tacoma on March 25, 1930. His father Dr. John Francis McDonough was a prominent dentist in Tacoma. Unfortunately his father passed away when Jim was about 6 months old. Jim and his older brother John were raised by their mother Gladys Corrington McDonough. Gladys raised her two sons with the help from the wonderful Brosamer family (special cousins from the paternal side).
Jim attended Marymount Military Academy in Tacoma and graduated from Bellarmine High School in 1948. Jim’s mother, a registered nurse for St. Joseph’s hospital, remarried during his childhood to physician, George A. Delaney. George had been widowed himself and also brought two children into the marriage, George Jr. and Aileen Delaney.
Upon graduation from Bellarmine, Jim received a full ride football scholarship to Santa Clara University. After the first quarter of college, he asked himself “Do I want to live the life that others have planned for me, or do I want to live a life of adventure?” He quit school and joined the marines. He wanted a life of adventure. He went to boot camp in San Diego, he served a stint in the Korean Conflict (War) and returned in 1952. He was wounded in action and awarded a Purple Heart for his service. He married his sweetheart, Greta Naydine Jones on April 18, 1953.
Jim and Greta settled into a one room travel trailer in the hot and arid Barstow, California for little less than a year. With discharge papers in hand, and baby on the way, they made their way to Tacoma, Washington. They arrived here November 10, 1953, with aspirations to make it all the way to Alaska for cooler temperatures. He took a temporary job as a janitor at Western State Hospital, until he was hired February 15, 1954 by the Tacoma Police Department. The arrival of his first child James Anthony McDonough came just three days previously.
With law enforcement career now starting and fatherhood happening too they decided to plant their roots in Tacoma, Washington. They bought the McDonough family home on May 18, 1954 and vowed to each other to never move. Over the next four years, Jim and Greta had four more children Michael John, Carol Marie, and twins Edward Earl and Elizabeth.
Jim worked his way through the Tacoma Police Department. He spent many years in the patrol division and had many interesting cases as a patrol officer. His partner for many years was his good friend, Richard Amundsen. Prior to his retirement, Jim worked closely with City Manager, William Donaldson. They became close friends. Daddy retired from the TPD in 1979 as the Deputy Chief. He was proud to say he put in his 25 years + 1 day (just in case there were any screw ups with the paperwork).
Since his retirement, Dad kept busy by purchasing and improving residential properties in the neighborhood. He enjoyed spending time with Greta and his grown children and his 11 grandchildren, James III, Amanda, Justin, Jonathan, Larry, Nathalie, Alana, Gary, Cory, Matthew, and Julia and his 13 great grandchildren: AJ, Chloe, Alyssa, Zack, Gary (Bubba), Bailin, Logan (Hubba-Bubba), Audrey, Carlin, Makayla, Kian, Kellen Lucy, + her baby sister due to arrive in May. Dad also had bonus grands Elton and Jeremy Lithicum and bonus great grands Michael, Miracle and Marcus Lithicum, and Zachary and Patrick Ulrey that he loved to share more of his stories with when they would visit.
Daddy enjoyed the outdoors, spending time at his beach property on Hood Canal, daily walks with his dog Charley, (and the others before him: Blackey, Princess Butch, Buttons and Bows), tending to his half acre vegetable garden. His hobbies include playing chess, cards, reading and he has an avid interest in the history of World War II.
But wait…just one more thing. These words just read were written by my daddy several years ago (edited of course with the addition of great grandchildren.) Dad felt this was perfect to be his obit, and also had a dual purpose filed under “about the author” to be used in his self published book, “The Vault”. From time to time he would say to me “just one more thing” his thoughts that were important. So please allow me to fill in with the following:
Time spent with the Brosmer family were wonderful days ….tough times, and disciplined times. This is where he picked up the little snipet, “CHILDREN SHOULD BE SEEN AND NOT HEARD”, I am sure all of his kids, grandkids, and even most of his great grandkids can all remember some of the stories. We have been reminded when trying to visit with him and bringing our kids and grandkids over. Maybe we did not understand because those were different times…. “The Great Depression”, we may have read about it, but Daddy lived it. Those would have been some difficult shoes to walk in as a young lad.
Daddy loved the times he spent at Marymount. We recently traveled there and he was given the VIP tour of all the grounds. He was able to share some history with volunteers that thought they knew all, but he was able to educate them on where the shooting range was. He was speechless when he found a picture in their achieves of himself and his brother attending school there. So very thankful to the LeMay family for all their work in preserving and maintain the grounds. Daddy opened up and shared stories of running away, stealing a horse, being left alone over night “forgotten” with his feet in a bucket of ice. While standing in the lunchroom at Marymount he recalled the discipline and structure it taught him that you did not talk during meals and the importance of being a table leader. And if you messed up, what the consequences were. Did daddy mess up, of course he did! Overall though he was proud of being able to say he was at Marymount Military School and his claim to fame he was the fastest rope climber. The uniform boots he wore had gotten bigger, but still tough times that we can only imagine, because we did not live them.
When Dad left Marymount, he and brother John joined their mom and new husband Dr. Delaney. Their new school was St. Pat’s Catholic School, followed by Bellarmine High School.
Dad was very proud of his time spent at Bellarmine School and loved being able to play football there. He graduated in 1948 and his claim to fame was scoring the winning touchdown over Lincoln High School and his team winning city championship. He was active with his alumni group for both St. Pat’s and Bellarmine. Daddy looked forward to their reunions every year and I was proud to be his date, his buddy, when mom was not able to attend. To be honest, she just was not interested, so I got to meet all of Daddy’s life-long friends.
And one more thing…Dad’s time spent in the marine corp was special to him. He was proud that his oldest son James, and son Mike chose to also serve their countries. Dad was extra proud that his grandson James III (he loving referred to Coast Guard Jim) spent time in the Coast Guard, his grandson Matthew served in the Marine Corp, and his other grandson, Gary R. Hohn II is currently serving in the United States Marine Corp. Daddy took credit for all, if it weren’t for him and the discipline he laid down, James and Michael, and then his 3 grandsons would not have entered the military.
Just one more thing… Dad being married to mom for almost 65 years. He loved, loved, and loved her. Everything he did had her wrapped up into it. Their beach property at Hood Canal was just one love story. They created it together with all 5 kids and even grandkids helping out throughout the years, with concrete mixing, pouring, digging, cleaning. Stories told, games played, and celebrations to be held. They both looked forward to family get-togethers each and every year there with everyone bringing something to share. “His family” was not limited to those that are blood related, but also people that have been there to share his life with him and Greta. Those people to him were family as well.
Just one more thing… My dad felt empty after losing my mom. It was harder than anything he had experienced before. Dad, always the strong, tough, no nonsense kind of guy was at a loss when talking about mom. He finally confessed to me that just talking about her made the pain that much worse. My dad always wore each pain and hurt he received like a medal, never to forget. But this hurt was different. He had to navigate his new life post Greta. It wasn’t easy for him to tell me he was lonely and had to keep himself busy. He joined the Tacoma Chess Club, and he enjoyed playing chess each Tuesday and Friday. He would make new friends, and take on the game of chess with people of all ages. He became very good there and just before Christmas played the champion and beat him. He called me as he did every night to check in to report his win and he had kicked “Ass”.
Just one more thing… Daddy fought having a computer and entering the computer age. It was a battle each of his children had with him, only to give credit to none of us but instead to his trusted and loyal friend James Knudsen. He enjoyed learning the computer everyday and that became a life-line to a lot of his friends. How many times did he edit his friends and family list, to include some, and while excluding others. I so much wanted to be on the excluded list, but my buddy kept me on it. Even though I told him please don’t e-mail me, I just don’t do e-mail. Recently his much old computer crashed and we had to repurchase a new one. How many times did he tell me he was going to just throw it away, but he finally learned some new programs and mastered the ability to send e-mails to all in his address book. But when something went wrong, he was sure to call his buddy anytime 24/7 cause he could.
Cell phone, that’s another… “ONE MORE THING”. All his kids have had cell phones, we’ve all had the talk with him about why it was important to have a cell phone, the fact that he could not hear the ringer on his old rotary phone. But would dad budge on that, nope, not one bit. Even when he was given mom’s old cell phone, he could not wait to throw it away, with gusto!!!…and daddy did not want to throw anything away. So the day he comes to my house and tells me why he was late for dinner. His jeep would not start, he had to flag down a stranger for a jump, and he drove right over. But according to him, if he had a cell phone he would not have been late. That is when I presented him with his very own cell phone, bright red in color and a ringer he could totally hear. It was a harmonica music ringtone with just the right pitch his hard of hearing ears could hear. He was Thankful. Now you know that was a miracle!!! All of his family members numbers were programmed in and all he had to do was each and every day put it into his pocket when he left the house and plug it back into the charger at the end of the day.
Just one more thing…Dad found that joining in every year at an Annual Veteran’s Day celebration he was comfortable sharing some of his Korean Conflict experiences with other veterans, some stories never shared before, but to those he felt closeness with. He made many friends along the way because of this and looked forward to it every year. This last year neighbors The Schrupp’s and their children John and Jillian took Daddy to their Veteran’s Day program. Dad enjoyed himself so much and on the way back home told the family the tale of “Dead Man’s Curve”. Now all of us kids and grandkids know it but it was important to share with the young ones from his beloved Eastside neighborhood, so they could share it after he was gone.
Those words my daddy used over and over again to me “OH, JUST ONE MORE THING” I used to think was a way to detain me, keep me from leaving, one more story to tell, one more detail that needed to be remembered. It was bad enough that he would save me his newspaper each day, and he would highlight the things he wanted and insisted I read for discussion later. And you better believe I would have to read the whole article because that call would come, later at night double checking on how I felt about what he wanted to talk about. Most of the time he would even write his “One more thing” on his hand to remind himself to mention it when talking to me on the phone!
And when it came time, Daddy, your #5 was your voice in the only way I knew how to be. I would pray for you just as Mom and I had for years. During my verbal prays over Dad and unbeknownst to me with just hours to live, Daddy reached up joined my hands praying, and when I was finished his left hand moved back to his side, never to move again.
I crawled up into his bed and held him tightly until he left us (with Taps playing) that way he would not be alone. I am sure Mom and Dad are finally together again, where they wanted to be.
I am thankful for all those “One More Things” and because of them, I am stronger in my faith than ever before knowing that God gave me the time I needed to be my daddy’s voice.
On behalf of my all my family, my brothers and my sister, we would like to thank all the staff at Tacoma General Hospital, the special doctors, nurses, for honoring dad’s wishes. Special thanks to Dr. Martin Iversen, dad’s primary doctor with Multicare, Fr. John Wilkie, and parishioners of Our Lady Queen of Heaven Church for the prayers and support.