We Remember


February 6, 1943 — November 10, 2013

Jim passed away after a struggle with cancer on November 10, 2013 at the age of 70.  Jim will always be remembered and loved by his wife Fran, sons Andy (Maria) and Jason (Jennifer), dear family and friends. Jim generously shared his time, talent and knowledge with others including his six grandsons Christopher, Michael, Nicholas, Jacob, Alexander and Lucas. A teacher, musician, artist, sailor, carpenter and orchardist, he shared his interests with everyone who entered his life. Jim shaped the minds of many students in his 30 year career as a high school teacher. He was happiest when taking time to educate youth and in particular share a short lesson on any topic with his grandchildren. He loved to sail and watch his grandchildren play soccer and hockey. He was a good friend and hard worker who devoted time and energy to his family.  As one of the founding members of the Central Okanagan Sailing Association, he helped build an accessible, world class, legacy that brings joy to thousands of youth and adults today. He will be sorely missed in his roles as a husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend who will remember him most for his passion for jazz and classical music. Play on Dad.  A Memorial Service will be held on Friday, November 15th at 11:00 am at St. Charles Garnier Parish, 3645 Benvoulin Road, Kelowna, BC.  In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Canadian Cancer Society, 202-1835 Gordon Drive, Kelowna, BC, V1Y 3H5.  If you wish to send a condolence, post photos or share a memory, please scroll down the page to the area called “Share Your Condolences.”

Friday, November 15th at 11:00 am

St. Charles Garnier Parish

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Canadian Cancer Society, 202-1835 Gordon Drive, Kelowna, BC, V1Y 3H5.


Service Information

Service Details

The service for MACDONNELL, James Elwyn is scheduled for Friday, November 15th at 11:00 am. Below you will find the map for the service location and the contact information should you have any questions.

Address & Contact for Service Location:

St. Charles Garnier Parish

3645 Benvoulin Road Kelowna, BC.


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Funeral Pointers:



  • Randy Deorksen says:

    So sorry to hear this sad news. My thoughts are with you guys

  • Les Falk says:

    Hi Fran

    Sam Swarchuk phoned me this morning with the news of Jim’s passing. As a socials teacher he was a “super-pro” and his almost outrageous sense of pranky humor and gut-busting laugh will always be part of my memories of Jim and the Springvalley staff.

    I intend to attend the memorial, but I am still recovering strength in my leg muscles after I had a long hospitalization (atrophied muscles) with time in re-hab after a hernia operation in late August 2012. Did not get back home from the re-hab center until January, 2013.

    Thoughts go out to you and all concerned

    Les Falk

  • Wendy Lawrence says:

    Dear Fran,
    So sorry to hear this sad news. You are in my thoughts.

  • Jane Dobson says:

    While I was not a great student, I have fabulous memories of Jim as my music teacher at GESS in Winfield. His energy, enthusiasm and love of music was so infectious and I enjoyed every minute in both the Jr. and Sr. School bands. Best of all was the Sr. Dance Band and I will always remember how much fun he made it for all of us. Please accept my sincerest condolences at Jim’s passing – he made a lasting impression on me.

  • Mike Otter says:

    To the Family,

    Please accept my condolences.

    Mr. MacDonnell was one of my favorite teachers…even though I thought that his classes were fairly tough. I remember the wry smile & twinkle in his eye after he said something clever, waiting for the rest of us to get it. I liked him a lot.

    May your great memories ease the pain of your loss.


    Mike Otter
    SVSS Grad 1985

  • karen macdonald says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Will let others, who remember you Fran, know about Jim.

  • Bobbie and Bruce Currie Kelowna BC says:

    Dear Fran and Family,

    We have just spoken to Wendy on skype from Mexico.

    Words seem inadequate to express the sadness we feel about Jim’s passing.

    We always looked forward to visiting with Jim. We enjoyed his wonderfully positive and upbeat personality.

    Wishing you peace to bring comfort, courage to face the days ahead and loving memories to forever hold in your hearts.

    Love and hugs,
    Bobbie and Bruce Currie

  • Dawn Jensen Ackroyd says:

    Mr. Macdonnell was one of my favorite teachers. He was a tough teacher and made us work, and as a result, I learned to love social studies and history and all that went with it. One time he had us come do some work in his orchard. It was fun to get to know him on a more personal level. He was a great man and a great teacher. I will always remember him.

  • Dennis Warner says:

    I got to know Jim as a colleague when we both taught at Springvalley Secondary School and as a fellow musician. He was a wonderful teacher, an excellent musician, something of a Renaissance man given his many talents, and a highly respected person. It was a privilege to know him and he’ll be missed by the many people who knew him. My heartfelt condolences to Fran and the family.

  • Dave and Judith Gunderson says:

    Dear Fran and family
    We are so very sorry for the loss of your dear Jim; husband, father and friend. You will miss his strong presence in your lives. We send deepest sympathies to you all and hope that the love and care offered by all your friends will soften your sadness and support you through these days.
    Judith and Dave Gunderson

  • angela laverdiere says:

    Dear Andy,Maria, Jason, Jennifer and family. I am really so sorry to hear o fyou loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time and may those great memories you have made throughout the years get you through the hard times.

    Love Angela and Mike L

  • Steve Sellers says:

    Jim was always an encourager he would spend time providing perspective on any issue a student wanted to talk about. There are few teachers like him.
    I will always remember him. The last time I saw him we were sailing at the Yacht Club. Good memories.

  • Cam and Shauna Bakala says:

    Dear Andy and Maria and family:
    Our thoughts are with you during this sad time. Remember the happy times and it may help make it a bit easier with the sorrow and your loss. The Bakala Family

  • Ben Neufeld says:

    This news comes as quite a shock to me, as we now live on Salt Spring Island, and didn’t know about Jim’s illness. I had great respect for him as a teaching colleague and intellectual–he was a professional in every way. I knew him as a caring individual who nevertheless did not “suffer fools gladly”. Heartfelt condolences to you, Fran, and family.

  • Karen Gilbert says:

    Mr. MacDonnell was the Grad Sponsor at Springvalley Secondary School for our Class of 1988. Later in time, we were colleagues when I first became a teacher and worked at SVS with him. He challenged me, both as a student and as a professional, and I was always the better for it because he made me think. I have such fond memories of his smile and I can still hear his laughter.

    My deepest sympathies to his family.
    Karen Gilbert

    ps: I now work at George Elliot Secondary. Jim also worked at GES during his early days so I have found some of his yearbook photos to share.

  • Karen Gilbert says:

    George Elliot Secondary
    September 1969

  • Karen Gilbert says:

    George Elliot Secondary
    September 1970

  • Karen Gilbert says:

    George Elliot Secondary

  • Mike and Ev Kroschinsky says:

    Very sorry to hear of Jim’s passing, our deepest thoughts are with your family may your happiest memories stay with you always

  • Devin Rubadeau says:

    Dear Fran, Jason, Jennifer, and family,

    Jim left an indelible impression on the community through his passion for teaching and his many volunteer efforts. When people ask questions about COSA, I always take the time to acknowledge those that put so much of themselves into making sailing an accessible activity for everyone in the Okanagan. Jim will forever be remembered by those of us who gained so much thanks to his determination and passion.

    Love Devin, Julie, and the boys.

  • Vikki Sladen says:

    I was surprised to hear of your loss at lunch yesterday. I worked with Jim at SVSS and remember in particular the intelligence of his humour and how his eyes twinkled when he laughed. His no-nonsense approach kept us informed and on our toes, encouraging us take our professionalism seriously. I think of him often as the job continues to evolve. I miss the integrity and experience of his voice in staff conversations.

  • Sue Munn says:

    Dear Fran, Andy and Jason:
    I am so very sorry to hear about Jim. I had no idea that he was sick and I am still in shock after reading the obits. Even though I haven’t seen him in years, I will really miss him. He was a prince.
    Please accept my sincere condolence.
    Sue Munn

  • Gary Lewis says:

    I’m so sorry to read about Jim’s passing. I wasn’t sure at first that it was the same fellow who played in Mark Rose’s band, dance band, and orchestra so many years ago (1950’s); as soon as I saw the photos of Jim when he was younger, I knew it was him. I also played in those wonderful school musical groups under Mark Rose’s direction and remember how we all admired Jim’s expertise on the trumpet; he was very accomplished. I’m happy to read here that he kept his musical talent going and passed his knowledge to many school students who have said how much they appreciated all that he willingly gave to them. Well done Jim!

  • Linda Thomson ( Cross ) says:

    Dear Fran and Family,
    We were very saddened to hear of
    Jim’s passing. Growing up, he was a cousin I always looked up to and it was obvious as an adult, he continued to be a wonderful person.
    Blessings to all of you.
    Ron and Linda

  • Maureen & Art Hancock says:

    Fran; We were so sorry to hear of your loss.
    Our prayers and thoughts are with you. Remembering fondly our visit with both of you last Christmas at Sam & Loretta’s.
    Maureen& Art

  • Evan Orloff says:

    Dear Fran and family,

    My deepest condolences on the loss of your dear Jim. I remember him well from our days on the COTA executive. Jim was a kind, thoughtful and caring man who loved and valued his family and his career. He will be greatly missed by us all. G-d Bless you and the family.

  • Jo-Ann and John Ackery says:

    Dear Fran and family, We were so sorry to hear of Jim’s illness and passing. I have many happy memories of playing day long canasta games with him and Laverne at Granny Mac’s table only to be cleared off at lunch then reset. I think we all competed in not getting caught cheating. Much laughter all-around. You will have many good memories to sustain you at this time.
    love Jo-Ann (Duncan) and John

  • Chrissie Park says:

    Shocked and saddened to hear of Jim’s passing. Will remember him fondly as a warm and gracious co-host at our 50th reunion gathering at your home in June of 2012. May the sharing of good memories help buoy up the spirits of you and your family at this difficult time.

  • Bernie & Ev Monteleone says:

    Fran & family . . . Saddened to hear of Jim’s passing. I really enjoyed our time at Springvalley Senior Secondary in the late 90’s. I really admired his perspective of various issues & his sharp intellect. A wonderful teacher. Cherish your memories!

  • Henrietta Beauchesne and Don Steer says:

    Dear Fran and family,
    Our sincerest condolences on Jim’s sudden passing. We are certain he will be missed by all his many friends and students. Our prayers for you and your family at this time.

  • Rob and Elaine Corkin says:

    Dear Fran and family,
    Elaine and I have been in Ireland and just returned recently so we didn’t know about Jim’s illness and we were very shocked to hear( just yesterday afternoon ) of his passing. I have very fond memories of teaching Social Studies next door to him at Springvalley from when it opened in December ’74 until I moved on in 1980. Jim was an excellent teacher and friend and I can recall many laughs we had together at Social studies meetings and other gatherings. He will be sorely missed by everyone. Elaine and I send our deepest sympathy to all of you at this very difficult time.

    Rob and Elaine

  • Emil and Phyllis Nagy says:

    Dear Fran and Family..We were saddened
    to hear of Jim’s passing.I was a colleague when I taught at Springvalley
    Secondary.I will always remember Jim for his outstanding mind and our unique
    conversation about government and politics;we had fun.
    Our sincere sympathy.

  • Scott Sieben says:

    To The MacDonell family – I had the pleasure of having Jim as a teacher at Springvalley and then worked with him as a colleague at Springvalley. He was an excellent teacher who challenged us, as students, to fulfill our potential. As a colleague, his wit, intellect, passion for education inspired us all.

  • Paul Durose says:

    Dear Fran,
    Please accept my sincere condolences on the passing of Jim. I had the opportunity to interact with him numerous times during our lengthy careers with SD 23 where he contributed his time and talent to the education of many many students.
    Paul Durose

  • Gene Booth says:

    Very sad to hear about Mr. Macdonnell’s passing he was always kind to me and made me feel at home when i visited Jason at your home in South Kelowna.If there is anything i can do at this time or in the future i would be happy to help. Sincerely, Gene Booth

  • Sandi Cameron says:

    Dear Fran,
    I am so saddened to hear of Jim’s passing. What a wonderful life you shared. May memories of laughter, joy, and love comfort you at this time.
    My deepest sympathy to you and your family.
    Love and blessings

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