James Edward Donelson, “Jim” to all who knew him, passed away at the age of 75 on April 6, 2022. Jim was the beloved husband of Dorothy Donelson (nee Kallaher). He was a devoted son to his mother, Anna Parsons, and stepfather, Joe Gibbons. He was father to four children, Eric Donelson (wife Denelle Cooke), Jamie Donelson, Emily Wilczynski (husband Wojtek Wilczynski), and Shannon Brannan (husband Robert Brannan); and brother to Nancy Lykus (husband Paul Lykus). Jim also relished being a “Papa” to his two grandchildren, Abigail and Jack Wilczynski.
A native of Boston, Massachusetts, Jim graduated from Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts. Career accomplishments would take him and the family from coast to coast, and many cities in between – Brooklyn, NY; Providence, RI; Laguna Nigel, CA; Little Rock, AR; Herndon and Fairfax Station, VA; Alpharetta, GA; and Greensboro, NC. In retirement, Jim and Dorothy enjoyed life at the beach in Perdido Key, FL and in the mountains of Hendersonville, NC.
Jim was a brilliant man with a strong work ethic and a driving commitment to public service. He worked many jobs to put himself through college and then joined the federal government and rose through the ranks of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). His federal career spanned three decades and a variety of executive roles, including the Chief of Taxpayer Service and Chief of Operations for the entire country.
Jim was a devoted sports fan. Although he lived many places, he remained an ardent and lifelong fan of his Boston Celtics, Patriots, and Red Sox. When his daughter Shannon attended Auburn University, Jim also adopted the Auburn Tigers whole-heartedly. As a season ticket holder, he cheered on the Tigers at countless games in Jordan-Hare Stadium and in Phoenix, AZ when they won the national title in 2011.
Jim loved playing sports – baseball, basketball, and golf in particular. He coached his daughters’ soccer teams for many seasons, teaching and encouraging not only his own girls but dozens of others.
Jim deeply loved his wife, family, and friends. He made a lasting impact on countless people through his work and hobbies. A man who touched everyone he met with his unmatched kindness, generosity, and unfailing integrity, Jim will be remembered and missed so very much.
A private celebration of Jim’s life is planned for the summer of 2022.
Memorial donations may be made to two organizations close to Jim’s heart:
Fishes and Loaves Food Pantry
Etowah Methodist Church
110 Brickyard Road
Etowah, NC 28729
Hendersonville Rescue Mission
639 Maple Street
Hendersonville, NC 28793