James Patrick McGoldrick II – successful businessman, aviation leader and collector – died last week at age 95 in one of the boats he kept at his Pend Oreille River cabin near Sandpoint.
“He was quite a guy. He was vibrant,” said Milaine McGoldrick, his wife of 73 years.
James McGoldrick had been working on the boat Friday and with help had installed a repaired motor. Later, McGoldrick went for a boat ride at the cabin downstream from Lake Pend Oreille.
“He was so happy,” his wife said. After the ride, he returned to the boat, where he was found dead a short time later, she said.
The family has decided to hold a private memorial service at a later date.
Born on Dec. 16, 1916, McGoldrick was named after his grandfather, James P. McGoldrick, a pioneer lumberman in Spokane.
At age 12 he won a boat race, Milaine McGoldrick said. The two were sweethearts at Lewis and Clark High School and married on Sept. 13, 1940.
James McGoldrick attended the University of Washington, where he was a star and captain of the track team, winning the West Coast title and holding a record in the high hurdles.
During World War II, he served as a civilian electronics engineer in the U.S. Army Signal Corps. He had been an amateur radio operator before joining.
After the war, he and a partner formed Northwest Electronics Inc., which McGoldrick operated for years in Spokane on East First Avenue. He also owned Electronics Manufacturing Co.
In 1964, McGoldrick was named Spokane pilot of the year. He owned two planes, including a Beech Bonanza, and held a commercial pilot license.
McGoldrick was an advocate of developing Spokane International Airport and eventually served on the airport board. He became board chair in 1985.
Milaine McGoldrick said she and her husband were collectors, and he assembled a virtual museum of boats and vintage boat parts. Before they built their cabin on the river, they used a historic Northern Pacific Railway caboose for sleeping and cooking. The caboose was moved to the property in 1970.
McGoldrick served on the boards of St. Luke’s Memorial Hospital, Spokane Good Roads Association, Spokane Taxpayers Association and Spokane Unlimited Inc. He was a director for Old National Bank and Lincoln First Federal Savings and Loan.
He served as president of the Spokane Chamber of Commerce starting in the late 1960s.
McGoldrick is survived by his children, Molly Beck and her husband, Barry Provarse, of Woodinville, Wash., and Mikki McGoldrick and her husband, John Rovtar, of Spokane; three grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.