The Free Press, Mankato, MN

December 30, 2012

John J. 'Jay' McDonald


—   John J. "Jay" McDonald of Mankato died at the age of 92 on Friday, December 28.

  Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, January 2, at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church with Father John Kunz officiating.  Visitation will be held at the church beginning at 9:30 a.m. the same day.  Burial will be in Holy Family Cemetery, Peosta, Iowa.

  Mr. McDonald moved to Mankato with his wife, Janann, and family in 1972 when he was made manager of the Gallenkamp Shoe Store in the Madison East Mall and District Manager of several company stores in Minnesota, Iowa, and South Dakota.  Janann worked in catalogue sales at the Sears store in the same mall for many years.

  He was born April 2, 1920 in Dubuque, Iowa the son of Mary (Powers) and Peter McDonald. He moved to Peosta, Iowa with his family as young boy.  He graduated from the Red Brick Country School, District 8 and Peosta High School.  He also attended Bayless Business College in Dubuque.

  He spent his career in the shoe business and was employed by Montgomery Ward and the Big Shoe Store, both in Dubuque.  He became Manager of Schiffs Shoes and moved to Mason City, IA in 1948 where he and his family lived until 1972.  He was inducted into the Gallenkamp Presidents Club for sales performance in 1976.  He retired in Mankato in 1985.

  In 1944, while attending daily mass at St. Raphaels Cathedral in Dubuque he met the love of his life, Janann Cannon of Dubuque.  They danced and dined at all the ballrooms in the Dubuque and Chicago areas, and saw all the musicals of the day.  They were married in 1948 and had four children.   Janann died in 2007.

  He was a member of St John the Baptist Catholic Church and a lifetime member of the Knights of Columbus.

  Wherever he lived he was animated by concern for family, faith, and community.  His principle for real estate was always walking distance to church:  three blocks in Mason City, two in Mankato.  In Mankato he and Janann treasured their membership in the St. John the Baptist parish community and their friendship with Fathers Thomas Colletti, Francis Kunz, and John Kunz. They were boosters of Loyola High School from which their daughters Maureen and Sheila graduated and of Mankato State University from which their daughters and son Timothy graduated.

  He loved meeting people whether at work, at church or in his residential communities, Keystone Communities of Mankato and Laurels Peak Rehabilitation Center later in life.

  He is survived by his four children, Terry (Mary Ann) of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Tim (Karen) of Chicago, Illinois, Maureen (Paul) Trefry of Beverly, Massachusetts and Sheila (Gary Jewell) of St. Louis Missouri; grandchildren Peter Trefry, Kathryn, Brett and Harrison Jewell; his sister Lois Sodawasser of Waterloo and Dubuque, Iowa and many nieces and nephews.

  He was preceded in death by his wife, Janann, sister Mary Jane McAuliffe, brother Tom McDonald and grandson, Kyle Jewell.

  In his later years he was lovingly assisted by the staff of Eldercare Services, Inc. especially his friends Alice Laukkonen and Betti Walter.  The family is also grateful for the care he received from the staff at Keystone Communities, Laurels Peak and the Mayo Clinic Health System.

  In lieu of flowers the family would prefer contributions to St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Mankato.