Obituary for Jim McConnaughay
We Honor You
Three years ago, on May 18 2017, we sadly lost this great man to Cancer.
Jim was a devoted husband, loving father and grandfather, and a loyal son, brother, brother-in-law, uncle, cousin, mentor and friend.
In 1969, Jim graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Speech Communications. Shortly after, Jim landed a position with The Campbell Soup Company in Omaha staying there until 1971. Over the next 27 years Jim worked for The Quaker Oats Company in a variety of positions at several manufacturing locations throughout the country. Jim also served in the United States Army Reserve as a Specialist 5 in Logistics/Supply from 1970-1972, and then in the United States Air National Guard of Illinois from 1972-1974, as a Staff Sergeant receiving an Honorable Discharge in 1974.
While serving as the Director of US Personnel at the Fisher-Price Toy division in Western NY Jim met his future wife, Peggy Hayes. Not long after getting married in 1985, Quaker went through an expansion effort acquiring a number of companies in the San Francisco Bay Area including Golden Grain, Rice-A-Roni and
Ghirardelli Chocolate. In the summer of 1986 Jim was appointed Vice-President – Human Resources, for the newly acquired subsidiaries and he and Peggy quickly settled into California living in the East Bay area of Danville, CA.
Not long after, while hiking and exploring the Sierra Nevada foothills and mountains, Jim and Peggy were lured to the charm and warmth of Nevada City and Grass Valley. They soon agreed that“When we can live where we want, it will be here.” That finally happened in 1998 when Jim retired from corporate life. Then, in 2001, Jim and Peggy built their dream home in Grass Valley.
Jim always said that if he could write a book about his life it would be titled “The Last 19”, as he long felt that his ‘last 19’ years were the best years of his life. He grew to love his adopted community and relished his very busy ‘retired’ life by enthusiastically helping Peggy in her Nevada City retail shop (‘Country Collectibles’) while also volunteering for numerous organizations throughout Nevada County.
This impressive list includes…, weekly routes delivering food for Meals On Wheels, fundraising for The United Way,working for The American Red Cross during the Hurricane Katrina response, climbing stairs of Banner Mountain Lookout to pull fire-watch duties for the California Department of Forestry, and weekly
support for the Grass Valley Interfaith Food Bank, to name just a few. He also served on the Boards of the Nevada City Downtown Association, and The Nevada City Chamber of Commerce. Jim worked closely with local merchants and the Nevada City council to bring new events to the area including the Nevada City Farmer’s Market, the clean-up of Calanan Park, and assisted his wife Peggy in starting the long successful Annual Nevada City Sidewalk Sale.
Jim enjoyed working with other local volunteers and said,“There is no shortage of volunteer opportunities in our community.”
He felt blessed to live in such a beautiful area of our country and never took it for granted. Jim and Peggy frequently traveled including fourteen cross country road-trips mostly to visit friends and family in Western New York and Illinois.
In 2010, one of Jim’s happiest days occurred when he became a Grandfather, quickly forming a strong bond with his
beloved grandson which he cherished despite their distance apart.
Not a day goes by that Jim isn’t missed by his friends and family.We cherish our memories that we have as he brought
so much love, happiness and humor to our lives for which we will be forever grateful.
Always loved and forever missed.
Peggy, Becky and Evan
Brothers Dale and Mark
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