James L. McDonald
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James L. McDonald
  • June 7, 1922 - March 22, 2016
  • Mississippi

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James Leslie "Jimmy" McDonald, 93, known to most as "Jimmy" or "Mr. Mac" passed away at his home on March 22, 2016 after a long illness. Born in DeKalb on June 7, 1922, Jimmy and his family resided in the delta towns of Drew and Parchmen then later moved to Lizelia before returning to DeKalb permanently in 1936. Graduating from DeKalb High School in 1940, Jimmy attended Mississippi State University before enlisting in the Army Air Corps in 1942, serving two years stateside and 1.5 years in India during the Central Burma China Offensive.
Returning to DeKalb in 1946, Jimmy held a variety of jobs before becoming DeKalb's town Clerk. On November 4, 1950 he married Daisy Deweese of Meridian in the Poplar Springs Methodist Church. In 1956 Jimmy was chosen to establish a new National Guard unit in DeKalb. With a borrowed typewriter and two apple crates for furniture, he established and staffed the unit. Jimmy or "Squire" as his troops called him, guided his unit through several reorganizations, Mississippi Emergency Service deployments and Summer Camps at Camp Shelby. He held the office of Unit Administrator and from 1970 to 1971 was acting Unit Commander before retiring in 1982 with the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 4. During his 30 years of service to his country and state, Jimmy received numerous military awards and decorations including the : South Pacific Theatre of Operations ribbon with three battle stars, World War II Victory Medal, Army Reserve Achievement Medal, Mississippi Magnolia Medal and Mississippi Emergency Service Medal to name a few. Perhaps his highest honor occurred on April 14, 1996, during the dedication of the Dekalb armory as the JAMES L. MCDONALD ARMY NATIONAL GUARD ARMORY. His final honor came when he was awarded the G.V."Sonny" Montgomery PATRIOT OF THE YEAR by Congressman Greg Harper, presented to him by his daughter Lesa Tumey in a July 4, 2015 ceremony.
Jimmy loved and earnestly served his country, state and community. Whether as a Volunteer Fireman, Town Clerk, Mississippi Guardsman, Cemetery Curator for 17 years or his lifelong service as a Lions Club and American Legion Post 5 member, Jimmy was available to help anyone at anytime, often quietly and anonymously.
Jimmy joined the DeKalb Methodist Church in 1937. He faithfully served and supported the church for 79 years in numerous ways including serving on the Finance Committee and as the Sunday School Superintendent.
He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Daisy Deweese McDonald; daughter Lesa Tumey (Bobby) of Westpoint, MS; son Leslie McDonald (Edith) also of Westpoint; four grandchildren: Elsie Elizabeth Dye of Westpoint, Molly Dye Plasters (Charlie) of Woodstock, AL, David Allen "Dave" Nanney Jr. (Heather) of Locust Fork, AL and Adam James Tumey currently attending the University of Southern Mississippi; two great-grandchildren: Elijah Scot Plasters and Morgan Kate Plasters; two nieces and one nephew.
Jimmy was preceded in death by his parents Leslie Vernon and Josie Ollhoft McDonald, his sister and brother in law Marjorie and Kern Pratt and his daughter and son in law Viva McDonald Dye and Billy Joe Dye.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be sent to the DeKalb Methodist Church or the charity of your choice.