Gustavus resident James Edward Donner Jr., 60, died peacefully Jan. 21, 2007, at Providence Hospital in Anchorage surrounded by his family.
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He was born on Oct. 17, 1946, in Spokane, Wash. He graduated from high school in Spokane in 1964, and while attending college at Eastern Washington University, he met his wife of 36 years, Jo. He and his family moved to Juneau in 1974.
He did many things during his life: He was a fireman, fisherman, logger, chef, correctional officer, bartender, store clerk, real estate agent and union laborer. Upon retirement, he and his wife enjoyed spending time in Gustavus, moving there permanently in 1998.
According to family members, he loved to travel and found Fiji to be a beloved destination. He was very social and engaging, preferring to be surrounded by friends and family, they said. He enjoyed simple pleasures such as cooking, fishing, a family drive or just some leisure time. He was known for his generosity to friends and strangers alike.
He was preceded in death by his father, James Edward Donner Sr.; and mother-in-law, Eleanore Stewart.
He is survived by his wife, Jo Donner, of Gustavus; mother, Laura Ullrich, of Idaho; sister, Cathy Malzahn and her husband, Tom, of Idaho; brother, Bill Donner and his wife, Nancy, of Sterling; daughter, Kelly Shattuck, and her husband, Rick, of Juneau; son, James Donner and his wife, Heather, of Anchorage; grandchildren, Elizabeth and Alex Donner, of Anchorage, and Ryan Shattuck, of Juneau; father-in-law, Norman Stewart, of Yuma, Ariz.; sister-in-law, Becky Esposito and her husband, John, of Colorado; and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews and their families.
Family members said he loved Gustavus dearly. As his health declined in later years, the local clinic allowed him to remain in his favorite small community. In lieu of sending flowers, his family asks that donations be made to the Gustavus Community Clinic, P.O. Box 399, Gustavus, AK, 99826, in the name of Jim Donner.
At this time, no services are scheduled. The family may be contacted at P.O. Box 165, Gustavus, AK 99826.