James E. Donahue, age 86, of Wilmington, DE, passed away on April 29, 2023 in Season’s Hospice following a short illness surrounded by family. Jim was born in Biddeford, Maine to Ernest and Doris Donahue. He was the valedictorian of the former St. Louis High School in Biddeford. Following high school Jim attended the University of New Hampshire and later earned a Master’s of Science in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston. Jim possessed a brilliant mind and spent his life learning and furthering a never-ending education. For many years he built his own electronic devices using Heathkit Products.
In 1959 Jim married Barbara Blake, his wife of 64 years. Soon after, Jim began a three-decade career with the DuPont Company. Together, Jim and Barb relocated on ten occasions as Jim rose through a number of promotions with DuPont. Where the couple lived the family enjoyed travels with a popup camper visiting a variety of lakes and campgrounds. Eventually the couple settled for good in Surrey Park in Talleyville in 1982. Jim retired in the late 1990s. Following a brief retirement Jim began a consulting career with the Forum Group.
While living in Chicago, Jim was an instructor with the boating safety organization United State Power Squadron and enjoyed sailing on Lake Michigan. In Jim’s second retirement he volunteered his time with Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research. He also provided his time as farm help with the Delaware Nature Society’s Coverdale Farm where he enjoyed taking his grandchildren to see the cows, pigs, and chickens. Jim concluded his volunteer service at Hagley Museum where he delighted in telling the history of the DuPont Company.
Jim was proud of his Maine upbringing, his backyard bird habitats, many poodles, and his Irish heritage. He enjoyed vacationing back in his home state on Bonny Eagle Lake and loved listening to Irish music. Each St. Patrick’s Day he flew the Irish flag from his front porch. He was also able to kiss the Blarney Stone and had a photo to commemorate the occasion.
Jim is survived by his wife Barbara and their three children, daughter Cathy McDougall and husband Brent of Kennett Square, PA; son David and his wife Susan of Toms River, NJ; and daughter Mary Bauernschmidt and her husband Paul of Newark. Jim was delighted with his grandchildren Cameron and Collin McDougall; Alec Donahue; Blake, Erica and Jamie Bauernschmidt; and step-grandchildren Daniel and David Pellicano. Jim is also survived by his brother John of Michigan and sister Kay Howard of Maine
The family will hold a private service followed by interment in Portland, Maine.
Gifts in Jim’s memory may be made to Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research.170 Possum Hollow Rd, Newark, Delaware 19711.
For online condolences visit: www.mccreryandharra.com