James Harrison McDonald
James (Jim) McDonald, 81, of Gulf Breeze, FL died peacefully at Covenant Hospice Residence in Pensacola on August 17, 2014 after an extended illness.
He was born in Florence, AL on Jan 11, 1933 to Ruby and Alphonse McDonald. After high school, he joined the United States Air Force, and served 20 years. He retired at Hurlburt Air Force Base and settled in Fort Walton Beach, FL. He loved people and never met a stranger; he would talk to anyone who happened to be standing in a line, standing in an elevator, and sitting in a waiting room. Jim was a born salesman, so it was only natural that he entered the business world. After serving as manager of a local car dealership for a while, he decided to open his own lot. That was forty years ago. Bargain Spot Used Car Center is one of the largest and longest operating car lots in Fort Walton Beach. He was so proud that three generations have owned it, and granddaughter, Tara McDonald Harrison now owns and operates it. When the car lot was established, he created Quality Building Systems from which several types of construction businesses operated i.e. home remodeling, pool enclosures, office buildings, siding, and storage sheds, to name a few.
Jim had a passion for hosting parties in his home or cruising Okaloosa Sound on his houseboat, and enjoyed sharing his latest (or oldest) jokes with a multitude of guests. He was an avid golfer and would stop to play a round wherever he traveled. He loved going on cruises, visiting new places, and making new friends.
Prior to his illness, Jim was active in many local civic organizations. He was a member of the Krewe of Columbus, Pensacola Artists Party Animals, Omega Masonic Lodge, and Hadji Shriners.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his daughter Sandra Kaye McDonald, his sister Jeanette McDonald Ray, and his brother Evan McDonald.
Jim leaves behind his loving wife of forty-two years, Marianne; children, Jim McDonald, Jr., Kim Merhar and partner Paul Werlin, Larry Baisden and wife Susan, Robert Baisden, Sherry McDonald Swann and husband Robert, and daughter-in-law Lynne McDonald; grand-children, Tara (Greg), Megan (Joey), Robbie (Haley), Dillon, Nicole, and Evan, plus great-grandchildren Haley, Josie, Austin, Madelyn, and Marlee. He is also survived by his brother, Charles McDonald and wife, Norma, and sister, Brenda McDonald Wright in Florence, AL
The family would like to extend a special thanks to People's Home Health for their years of service and to Covenant Hospice for the compassion and exceptional care they so lovingly gave to Jim in his final days.
A Funeral Service will be held on Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 11:00am at Emerald Coast Funeral Home 113 Racetrack Road in Ft Walton Beach, FL. Burial service will follow at Beal Memorial Cemetery, Ft Walton Beach.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Covenant Hospice 5041 North 12th Avenue, Pensacola, FL, 32504
Expressions of love and sympathy may be viewed online at www.emeraldcoastfuneralhome.com
Express your condolences in our guestbook at pnj.com/obits
Emerald Coast Funeral Home
113 Racetrack Rd NE
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547
Published in Pensacola News Journal on Aug. 20, 2014