Arrow-right Camera
News >  Obituaries

Obituary: Macdonald, James Alvin

MacDONALD, James Alvin (Age 85) Jim was born on April 5, 1927 to Alvin R. and Nina M. (Holloway) MacDonald in Cheney, Washington. Jim attended school in Spokane, Washington and graduated from North Central High School. After graduating he enlisted in the U.S. Navy near the end of World War II. Following training in San Diego, California he spent the latter part of the war on small aircraft carriers in the South Pacific. After being discharged he attended Washington State University and studied Architecture. He married Gaya Adell Sapp of Spokane, Washington and they moved to Bonners Ferry, Idaho where he worked for his parents’ farm implement dealership. In 1951 Alvin MacDonald bought Hudson Bay Resort in Bayview, Idaho. Both families moved to Bayview and worked together to build MacDonald’s Hudson Bay Resort. During his marriage to Gaya MacDonald they were blessed with four children, Gary, Scott, Marsha, and Sherri. Jim worked at the resort with his mother and father and his uncle Tom Holloway and his uncle Hal Hodge. Alvin MacDonald died in 1962 and until Nina’s death in 1981 Jim and Nina worked as a management team. In 1963 Jim represented Kootenai County as a State Senator in Idaho’s Centennial Legislature. He remained fairly active in politics during his life and was always glad to share his opinions with others. He served as the president of the Bayview Chamber of Commerce and was active in the formation of Bayview’s Water and Sewer District. In 1969 Jim married June Gehrke Costich and they worked together at the resort. Jim continued to oversee the various construction projects and June was busy making sure the cabins were clean and ready for visiting fishermen and vacationers. Jim’s life centered around MacDonald’s resort. He loved to sit in the store and tell jokes to friends and customers. He had a huge repertoire of jokes and stories. Any visitor could count on hearing a new joke when they visited the resort store. Jim had the assistance of his sons Gary and Scott in the resort business. Jim was always ready with advice and counsel as the family continued to build the resort. Over the years the MacDonald family has had help from their employees in building and serving their friends and customers. Jim helped build long term relationships with employees, young and old, and all left knowing that their work was appreciated. Jim loved his children very much and he was proud of their personalities, accomplishments, and families. He felt lucky that his two sons worked with him at the resort and shared his interest in serving people. He was close to his daughters Marsha and Sherri and their families. Those who have visited the resort have seen Jim’s birdhouses around the resort and filling the windows of his shop. His birdhouses are all over the country having been taken home as mementos of a stay at MacDonald’s. Thanks to his friend Mel, some lucky bird in Columbia, Central America will be nesting in one of Jim’s birdhouses. He did love birds and liked to make various models of houses and birdfeeders. The birdfeeders were always kept full so Jim and June could watch the birds outside their windows. Jim was preceded in death by his brother Robert MacDonald, killed in the Korean War, and his two sisters Peggy MacDonald Mahler of Sandpoint and Nettie MacDonald King of Newport, Oregon. He lost his son Scott way too early in 2002 from cancer. Jim is survived by his beloved wife June and her granddaughters Jennifer Costich and husband Ned Thompson and Betsy and husband Todd Connery and their children Grant and Carson; his son Gary and wife Mary and their children Meghan, Ryan, and Justin; daughters Marsha and her husband Norm Ellefson, and Sherri and her husband Michael Barber and their children Erin, Alexandra, and Thomas and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. He leaves many friends around the resort, Bayview, and the Spokane area. In respect of Jim’s wishes there will not be a funeral. The family will have a private graveside service at Greenwood Memorial Terrace in Spokane on Saturday, January 5th. In lieu of flowers the family would welcome memorial contributions in Jim’s name to the Bayview Community Center Foundation, P.O. Box 493, Bayview, Idaho 83803. The MacDonald family will have a tribute to Jim during the resort anniversary party scheduled for September 7th, 2013.