September 16, 2012 in Obituaries

Obituary: Mcgoldrick, James P. Ii


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On September 7, 2012 James Patrick McGoldrick took his last voyage on the good ship Bullmoose Junior. It is fitting that his final moments were spent on his beloved lap-streak Lyman on Lake Pend Oreille. Thanks to the efforts of friend and fellow race boat aficionado, Jerry Gilbreath, who believed that Jim should have at least one boat ride this summer, he got that ride and what a ride it must have been. Jim passed away in the boat when he went down to check on it later in the day.

Born in Spokane, Washington in 1916, son of Milton and Gladys Lawson McGoldrick, grandson of J.P. McGoldrick, businessman and founder of the McGoldrick Lumber Company, Jim was a promoter of Spokane and the Inland Empire most of his life.

He attended the University of Washington from 1935-1940 and was a member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. As captain of the track team he took First Place in the high hurdles at the Pacific Coast Conference Track and Field Championship in Los Angeles. He belonged to the Spiked Shoe Club, Big W Club, Oval Club and the honorary society, Fir Tree. After completing his studies he returned to Spokane and married Milaine Jones, who shared a “founding fathers” heritage in Spokane commerce and real estate.

After returning to work at the McGoldrick Lumber Company, Jim decided to pursue his entrepreneurial leanings and along with friend, Myron Sargent, established the electronic distributing and manufacturing firm Northwest Electronics, Inc. in 1945. The employees were always a close-knit group and the well-being of each and every one was of utmost importance to Jim. Until this day a core group has met for a reunion lunch once a year ever since he retired from the company.

Over the years McGoldrick served the Spokane community in many capacities and developed life long relationships. He was President of the Chamber of Commerce 1969-1971 and a member of the Airport Board for 16 years. He received numerous awards for distinguished contributions as a member of the Washington State Commission for Expo 74. He was on the Board of Directors of Lincoln First Federal Savings & Loan and the Old National Bank (now U.S. Bank) from 1971-1983, the third generation of his family to serve on that board.

As notable as his commitments to community might have been, it was his knowledge and passion for anything that could be flown, driven, or navigated on water that many will remember. He was hooked from the moment he won First Place at twelve years of age in his first boat race. A broken shaft had been discovered prior to the race and a new one had to be fashioned from a gun barrel, probably one that belonged to his Uncle Ed McGoldrick. His interest in boats never waned. He was particularly fond of the old, classic wood boats that could be restored to their original elegance. He was a kind man with an affinity for human nature, but had little patience for “landlubbers” or “idiots who cruised with their bumpers hanging.”

As a member of the Antique Classic Boat Society he frequently participated in the Sandpoint and Coeur d’Alene boat shows. Boat lovers hovered over him like bees sharing his genuine enthusiasm and flair for detail.

Boating and flying were parallel universes for Jim and he was at home in both. As an instrument rated pilot he was very active in Spokane aviation and served as the company pilot for Northwest Electronics. Although the company could have hired a pilot for the job, he just enjoyed doing it and logged many an hour in the air. He was also proud of his position as Commander-in-Chief and CEO of Fudpucker World Airlines that served the world with the famous Fudpucker Flying Machine.

He served as Chairman of the Aviation Committee of the Chamber of Commerce and was named “Pilot of the Year” in 1986. His influence shaped the direction and development of the Spokane International Airport and in 1986 the new airport commercial center was dedicated as the McGoldrick Aero Mall, a tribute to Jim McGoldrick, “whose dedication to Spokane Aviation is unequaled.” He was also particularly fond of his association with the Quiet Birdmen.

Jim was a family man “non pareil.” Having no sons to impart his wisdom to, his two daughters, Molly and Mikki, were taught to shoot straight, hold a steady course, balance the boat and change a shear pin. Humanitarian, historian, ham radio operator, recorder of local history, Jim was a multi-dimensional man. Perhaps he can best be described by Hec Edmondson’s inscription after the Pacific Coast Conference Track & Field Meet in the Los Angeles Coliseum - “To Jim McGoldrick, Washington Captain 1940. Had no superior in leadership or fight.”

In Jim’s own words in a letter to a family member, “I am 91 years old and still quite active, in basically good health with minor problems typical of my age, but wake up every morning with a smile on my face and look out the window at the wonderful country we are in.”

An unenthusiastic attendee of funerary and fanfare, Jim has requested no services after his passing. The family will honor his wishes and have a small family gathering at an undetermined date. If one so desires, a contribution in his honor can be made to the Spokane Humane Society (6607 N. Havana St., Spokane, WA 99217) or a charity of one’s choice.

He is survived by his wife Milaine; daughters, Molly McGoldrick Beck (husband Barry Provorse), Mikki McGoldrick (husband John Rovtar), often considered a daughter, Carol Ealy Capra; three grandsons, Petyr Beck (Karin), Virgil Beck (Hillary), and Jaimie Trueblood (Amber); five nephews, John Lally, Lee and Scott Letsch, Paul Ferguson, Tom Pendarvis, four nieces, Anne Wagstaff, Wendy Flynn, Lisa Johns and Ann Ferguson-Venegas and eight and a half great-grandchildren.

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