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James Michael McDonald ’61 (12/05/36 – 06/02/12) Coach Jim McDonald, 75, passed away peacefully in San Francisco on June 2, having endured multiple myeloma and related complications since 2003.
Jim is survived by his loving wife of 47 years, Francesca (Guheen) and daughters Christina D’Arcy (Finbarr) and Melissa Wagner (Nicholas). He is the proud Papa of Oliver Edward James Wagner. Jim is uncle to Jessica Guheen Wald (Adam), Colin (Carrie) and Ryan Guheen ’03, Paula, Kenny and the late Kevin Carolla, John Edmunds and Sandra Ledford. Jim is survived by his brothers-in-law Michael Guheen ’68, MBA ’70 (Cheryl) and Fred Carolla, and his sister-in-law Susan (Guheen) Desautels (Marc). He is predeceased by his parents, Valentine and Noreen McDonald, twin brother Jerome and sisters Patricia and Peggy; his in-laws, John J. Guheen II and Francis Arguello Guheen (nee Lemmelett) and brother-in-law John J. Guheen III.
Jim grew up in Eureka Valley and graduated from Most Holy Redeemer grammar school. He attended St. Joseph’s Seminary in Los Altos for one year prior to attending Saint Ignatius College Preparatory on Stanyan Street and graduating in the class of 1955. Jim’s collegiate athletic and academic adventures began at the University of San Francisco followed by a stint at Santa Clara University and then back to USF where he completed his B.S. in Business Administration, followed by a teaching credential and Master’s degree in Education. In 1962, at Saint Ignatius College Preparatory, Jim began what was to become a 50-year career as an educator and football coach. In 1971, Jim started teaching and coaching at Saint Mary’s College of California in Moraga. He retired in 2004, after 32 years of service and in 2005 he was inducted into the St. Mary’s College Athletic Hall of Fame, an honor for which he was most humble. After his official retirement, Jim volunteered on the coaching staff of City College of San Francisco and was ecstatic to be a part of Coach Rush’s 2011 National Championship team. Coaching at CCSF completed Jim’s vision of coaching football until he died.
Jim made a positive impact in the lives of hundreds of young men and women and enjoyed the ongoing communication with so many of his former players and students. His spirits were buoyed with visits and phone calls from players and students throughout the years, especially during his illness. He delighted in hearing about their families, careers, and accomplishments. Jim valued family and friends and was extraordinarily loyal to the loved ones in his life. He referred to himself as a blessed man to be surrounded by his loyal family and friends, for they made him laugh and lightened his heart throughout his life. He felt fortunate to visit with them daily and weekly in his last months.
Jim was particularly grateful to the Jesuits for the impact they had on his formative years and how their philosophy shaped his life; he was grateful for how the individual Jesuits in his life guided and supported him as an adult, especially during his illness. Jim was also affected by, and deeply respected, the teaching mission of the Christian Brothers at Saint Mary’s College. Additionally, donations of one’s time or funds in support of the vocation of nursing would be an appropriate tribute, as Jim had a deep respect for the nurses who took such good care of him, calling them his angels. The family would like to extend its gratitude to the doctors, nurses, and staff at the Hematology/Oncology practice at the University of California San Francisco and the UCSF Family Medicine Centerat Lakeshore; and in addition, the doctors, nurses, and staff at the Jewish Home in San Francisco who welcomed Jim and treated him like family. To all our friends who provided support and guidance and were always there for us during this time, our heartfelt thanks and love