James Donaldson, 93
James Storck Donaldson, age 93, died Thursday, August 22 at Hill View. He was born May 12, 1920, in Portsmouth, Ohio, the elder of two sons of Charles Morgan and Marcia Storck Donaldson.
After completing his degree in Architecture at The Ohio State University, he lived in Washington, DC, where he served as a civilian in the US Navy Bureau of Ships as a naval architect until the end of WWII. While there he returned home one weekend to claim his wife of 59 years, Clara Frances Elkins.
He joined his father's architectural firm of Devoss and Donaldson, eventually becoming Donaldson, Donaldson, and Wittenmeyer, when joined by fraternity brother, Jim Wittenmeyer, where he worked until he retired in 1971. Some of his favorite buildings included Jenkins Elementary School, the first all electric public school in the state of Ohio; the Alexandria House, the first all electric high-rise public housing in the country; and John Glenn High School in New Concord, Ohio. Many people recognized him riding his bicycle around town. He enjoyed proclaiming himself the original TOSRV rider, in 1939 riding a borrowed balloon-wheeled bicycle to ride from OSU to Portsmouth and back, to attend a dance with his future bride. He was fascinated by buildings of all shapes, sizes and ages; also a believer in historic preservation.
In retirement he pursued his many truly favorite activities, travelling to China with a group from Georgia Institute of Technology; and Zittau, Germany with the Sister City Committee. He was never without some sort of boat and enjoyed many hours of sailing his various sailboats; hiking, backpacking, canoeing or kayaking. He was a charter member of Shawnee Boat Club, and was in the local Coast Guard Auxiliary, patrolling many boat races for River Days. He enjoyed musical outlets, playing his clarinet in the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra, and singing in the Chancel Choir of Cornerstone United Methodist Church 60+ years. He served many offices at Cornerstone United Methodist Church, one highlight being chairman of the committee which brought their mighty Holtkamp organ to the church in 1978. He led several Boy Scout camping trips and enjoyed his days at Camp Oyo. He participated with many other organizations, including Shawnee Nature Club, where he participated in over 60 Annual Audubon Christmas Bird Counts, as Trustee for the 1810 House, 40+ years on the board of Goodwill Industries, and membership in the Camp Oyo Alumni Association where he worked on some of their work days. He was preceded in death by his wife Clara Francis Elkins Donaldson; and brother, Charles Donaldson. Survivors include children, Jamie Donaldson, Georgetown, Ky., Ann Donaldson, Portsmouth, David Donaldson, Lexington, Ky., Chuck Donaldson, Clay City, Ky., and Linda Donaldson of Portsmouth; one grandchild, Miriam Donaldson Norwit and one great grandchild, Poppy June Matilda Norwit, both of Petaluma, California.
Arrangements for a memorial service are still pending. It has been difficult deciding which organizations he would most appreciate memorial donations being made to: Cornerstone United Methodist Church Music Fund, Scioto County Historical Society at PO Box 1810 for the 1810 House, Main Street Portsmouth, Shawnee Nature Club, Portsmouth Wind Symphony, or Goodwill Industries.
Arrangements are under the direction of F. C. Daehler Mortuary Company of Portsmouth.