Slide background Image layer

James J. Donnelly

August 18, 1962 - May 16, 2020

Life Legacy

Jim Donnelly entered eternal rest on May 16th 2020 at the young age of 57. He was born August 18th 1962  in Denver Colorado to James & Drusilla Donnelly. 

The family settled in Phoenix, Arizona where Jim grew up & enjoyed his siblings Marrianne Patrick and Tom Donnelly as well as cherished Cousins and Friends. Jim learned to work on cars & rebuild engines.  He joined the US Army and quickly ranked up to Sergeant. His passion for helping people was evident from a young age, from saving a drowned child as a teenage life-guard, to assisting people who were in car accidents or helping an elderly couple by changing their flat tire on the side of the road. He absolutely was energized by helping anyone in need. He had a compassion for the weak and sick and made every effort to make them feel cared for and safe. Jim’s Moto was simple “Lead, follow or get out of the way!” He was polite, competent and professional & expected the same of others. Jim was a Christian and at 23 yrs old he knelt & prayed to meet a shapely Italian girl to marry. One week later He met the Love of his life Ann in San Francisco on the Presidio in 1987 over a post-op open heart patient. She was a Respiratory Therapist at the time and he was a Recovery Room Nurse. The couple Married one year later in 1988 and transferred to San Antonio, Texas for a Assignment at the Surgical Institute of Research Burn Trauma center during Desert storm. He was also thrilled to be called to UFA Russia to assist in a medical Mission treating severe Trauma Burn Victims under President’s Bush Sr. & President Gorbachev in 1989 before “The wall” came down. There he was in charge of triaging victims of this tragedy which would, years later, plague him with severe PTSD. He was also called to go beyond his regular duties and preform Escarotomies, insert central lines and give anesthesia because it was apparent there were not enough trained physicians to do the job. In the Army there’s a saying, “See one, do one, teach one.” It was evident Jim was a quick study & excelled under pressure. 

When he came home from that mission,  he was certain he wanted nothing more than to obtain his degree and give Anesthesia. Leaving the Military in 1991 to pursue his goal, Jim & Ann returned to the SF Bay Area & worked together side by side. Jim obtaining his Masters in Anesthesia while Ann became a Critical Care Nurse.  Jim had the honor of working at Kaiser Redwood City in the Anesthesia department. He loved & respected his co-workers and he was loved and respected by them. 

The couple welcomed two Magnificent people into the world in their forties, Jimmy & Anna Donnelly.  Jim was so proud & passionate about his children.  

Jim struggled towards the end of his life and sought treatment at the VA for various health issues. 

Jim, As all of us, would like to be remembered at his  best and by the good contributions he made to this world. He will be sorely missed as Husband, Father, Brother, Co-worker & Friend. 

Please Join us in a Celebration of his life When Shelter in Place is lifted and share your stories of knowing Jim followed by a balloon release and refreshments at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church at a later date to be announced 

Special Thanks to all our friends and family who have loved us, prayed for us and for the gifts of food. Finances and words of encouragement ❤️

Contact Us

Grissom's Chapel & Mortuary Inc.

267 E. Lewelling Blvd.
San Lorenzo, CA 94580
(510) 278-2800

Grissom's Cremation & Burial Centers

9130-B Alcosta Blvd.
San Ramon, CA 94583
(925) 560-0800

Grissom's Crematory, Inc.

267 E. Lewelling Blvd.
San Lorenzo, CA 94580