James K. “Jim” Donnell

December 27, 1931 - November 28, 2022

Visitation: Friday, December 16, 2022, 3-7 pm; Devlin Funeral Home of Cranberry

Service: Saturday, December 17, 2022, 11 am; Hiland Presbyterian Church

James K. “Jim” Donnell, of Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania died on Monday, November 28, 2022, one month short of his 91st birthday. Son of Allan Douglas and Anita Rath Donnell, he grew up in Waterloo, Iowa and attended Princeton University. While there, he was in NROTC, graduating as an Ensign USN in 1953, and was a member of a national championship rowing team. This experience culminated in setting a course record at the Henley Royal Regatta in England. He then served 2 years active duty in the US Navy aboard the USS Deuel. Following service to his country, Jim attended Yale Divinity School, receiving his BD in 1958, and was ordained in the Presbyterian Church USA. He served as Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of West Carrollton, OH (1958-1972); College Hill Presbyterian Church, Beaver Falls, PA (1972-1985); and Associate Executive Presbyter for Pittsburgh Presbytery (1985-1997).

Throughout his life, Jim gave generously of his time and talents, serving as a member of the Board of Education in West Carrollton, OH; Board of Big Brothers-Big Sisters of Dayton, OH; Board of Governors of Three Rivers Rowing Association; Board of Directors of Western Pennsylvania Support Association of Oikocredit; Chairman of Sherwood Oaks Fund as well as many other volunteer activities including with Princeton and Yale alumni associations.

Jim was blessed with the ability to pursue his passions of reading and traveling. He especially enjoyed annual visits to Madden’s and Gull Lake, in Minnesota, where he nurtured his extended family and many longstanding friendships.

Jim was father to Bridget Donnell Newton and her husband, Fredrick W. Newton of Rockville, MD; Jane K. Donnell and her partner Roland Moore of Cleveland, OH, and Calvin R. Donnell and his wife Patricia M. Donnell of Cranberry Twp., PA. Step father to Thomas Randall Oates and his wife Joan of Bridgewater, NJ; Joel Andrew Oates and his wife Susan of Cape Coral, FL, and Andrea McClain and her husband Lawrence of New Sewickley, PA. He was grandfather to Kyle J. Newton of Washington DC; Margaret Newton and her husband Anthony Boccio of Rockville, MD; Eilish B. Donnell and her husband Brett Mattson of Nashville, TN; and Liam J. Donnell of Nashville, TN. He was step grandfather to Kim Oates Naegely and her husband Robert of Towaco, NJ, Megan Oates of Bridgewater, NJ, and Jordan E. McClain of New Sewickley, PA. He lived long enough to be enamored with his great grandson, Brayden J. Boccio.

Jim is predeceased by his beloved wives, Barbara Pendleton Donnell (2004), and Sara Oates Donnell (2016), both his parents, his brother John Donnell, and his sisters Jean Parker and Patricia Cassat.

Family and friends welcome on Friday, 12/16, from 3 to 7 p.m. at Devlin Funeral Home of Cranberry, 2678 Rochester Rd, Cranberry Twp., PA. A Celebration of Life service will be held on Saturday 12/17 at 11 am at Hiland Presbyterian Church, 845 Perry Hwy, Pittsburgh.

One of Jim’s greatest joys was sharing his blessings with others. Accordingly, in lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions may be made to The Sherwood Oaks Employee Scholarship Fund, make checks payable to Sherwood Oaks Fund, 100 Norman Drive, Cranberry Twp., PA 16066, Attn: Employee Scholarship Fund; Bridges Hospice, 4130 Monroeville Blvd, Monroeville, PA. 15416 https://www.bridgeshospice.org/, or to a charity of your choice.

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  • Michelle Massaro

    My deepest sympathies to your family, Jane. Observing your close care and concern for your father has been a beautiful reminder of how strong family ties keep us standing during the losses we face.


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