James P. Donnelly, 82, a lifelong resident of Wilkes-Barre, passed away Saturday, May 28, 2016, at his home, after a courageous battle with cancer. He and his beloved wife, Charlotte A. Draus Donnelly, were married for 27 years before her passing in 1985.
He was a son of the late Edward and Helen Durkin Donnelly. James was a graduate of Elmer L Meyers High School, Class of 1951 and also furthered his education at Luzerne Community College. He was an Army veteran, having joined the National Guard 967th Armored Field Artillery Battalion and was deployed into active duty, during the Korean War. A picture on display in the 109th Field Artillery Armory, Kingston shows Mr. Donnelly serving as an around the clock honor guard outside a funeral home for one of the fallen soldiers of the 109th field artillery battalion train accident in Ohio on September 11, 1950.
In his earlier days, James worked as a Wilkes-Barre city policeman; a barber at the Hotel Sterling, prior to the Agnes flood and later was employed by the Wilkes-Barre Housing Authority, from which he retired.
He was a member of the Wyoming Valley Barber Shop chorus, which was a chapter of the SPEBSQSA. He was also a member of the Oak Grove Club, Goose Island and in his earlier years he had played for their baseball team.
James had many fond memories of his many camping and boating trips to Harvey’s Lake. He was musically talented being able to play the guitar, banjo and harmonica. James was an avid bowler, having received many trophies from the various leagues from which he played.
James is survived by his loving and devoted son, James A. Donnelly, Harvey’s Lake, who moved back home from California to help care for his dad; brother, Joseph Donnelly and his wife, Terry, Wapwallopen; his companion of 28 years, Mary Steele, Wilkes-Barre; several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his brother, Edward Donnelly and sisters, Margaret Semanski, Rita Thompson, Helene Arnold and Mary Frisbee.
Funeral services will be held Wednesday, June 1, 2016, at 11:00 A.M. at Mamary-Durkin Funeral Service, Inc. 59 Parrish Street, Wilkes-Barre, with Rev. James Lane, officiating. Interment will be in Holy Cross Polish National Cemetery, Francis St., Wilkes-Barre Township.
Relatives and friends may pay their respects on Tuesday from 5:00 to 8:00 P.M., and Wednesday morning from 10:00 A.M. until the time of the service.
Military services will be conducted by the AMVETS Honor Guard of Greater Pittston.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the SPCA of Luzerne County 524 E Main St, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702; American Cancer Society 712 S Keyser Ave, Taylor, PA 18517 or the donors favorite charity.