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1935 - 2018
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Obituary for James "Jim" Donnelley

James "Jim"  Donnelley
James Russell Donnelley
June 18, 1935 - September 25, 2018

James Donnelley, known to his family and friends across the world as Jim, passed away Tuesday morning at the age of 83.

Larger than life in so many ways, Jim left his impression on the city he loved and the people who knew and loved him. Son of Ann and Elliott Donnelley (deceased), he grew up in Lake Forest Illinois. A graduate of Dartmouth College (57), he then served in the Navy on a destroyer and then received his dolphins in the submarine service. He went on to earn his Master in Business degree at the University of Chicago (62) before beginning his life as a printing executive for RR Donnelley and Sons Company. Jim retired as Vice Chairman of the company, founded by his great grandfather, and continued to serve on its board until he was 70. During his tenure he mentored many, served proudly, and thought constantly about the welfare of all. He served on numerous boards close to home and far away, including R.R Donnelley & Sons (retired vice chairman), Sierra Pacific Resources in Nevada, and PMP Limited, Australia (past chairman). In addition, he served on numerous charitable boards among them The Chicago Public Library Foundation, The Chicago Youth Centers, and The National Merit Scholarship Corporation, where he served as board chair over his tenures. He was also a dedicated board member of The Associated Colleges of Illinois, The National Recreation Foundation and Lake Forest College. He was passionate about education and providing for others and did so on countless levels. Jim was also a member of many clubs in the area, among them the Chicago yacht club, the Mid America Club, the Racket Club and the Casino Club here in Chicago. He will be remembered by many in Chicago and afar, young and old. Jim always enjoyed a good cigar, a martini, and the company of family and friends

He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Nina (nee Herrmann), his children Niel (Kristin), and Nicole, his six grandchildren Jim, Jack, Joe, Ted, Jamie, and Caroline, and his three favorite brothers Thomas, Robert and David and their families.

Private burial service at Lake Forest Cemetery. A memorial will be held at Fourth Presbyterian Church, Michigan Avenue at Delaware Place, Chicago, on Wednesday, October 10, 2018, at 3 p.m. followed by a reception.


In lieu of flowers, Jim 's wishes were that anyone who wanted honor him do so with donations to one of the following organizations: The Chicago Youth Centers, The Chicago Public Library Foundation, and The Night Ministries.

Please visit JAMES DONNELLEY BOOK OF MEMORIES. To express your thoughts or memories in the online guest book, visit www.chapelc.com or www.facebook.com/centralchapel. Arrangements by CENTRAL CHAPEL, Robert J. Moynihan & Co., Directors, Info., 773-581-9000 or 312-944-6060

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