James E. McNamara
March 16, 1942 – July 30, 2021
James E. McNamara, age 79. Born in Detroit, MI, died in Omaha, NE on July 30, 2021. Preceded in death by wife, Mary Jo McNamara just two weeks ago; parents, Edward and Mercedes McNamara; brother, Larry McNamara; and sisters, Kathleen Simpson and Sheila Dunham. Survived by children: Carol (Luigi) Manzetti, David (Leah) McNamara, and Mark (Julie) McNamara; grandchildren: Austin McNamara, Victoria McNamara, Brady McNamara, Casslyn McNamara, Jillian McNamara, and Andrew McNamara. Also survived by brothers: Edward (Patricia) McNamara, Dennis McNamara, Timothy (Irene) McNamara, and Douglas McNamara; and sister, Maureen Grim.
VISITATION: Thursday, Aug. 5th from 4pm to 7pm, followed by a Rosary and Vigil Service at 7pm at St. Gerald Catholic Church, 9602 “Q” St. MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL: Friday, August 6th at 10am at St. Gerald Catholic Church. GRAVESIDE SERVICE with military honors: Omaha National Cemetery with date to be determined.
In lieu of flowers, please direct memorials to the Fr. Foster Memorial Endowment at St. Gerald Catholic Church or to Gross Catholic High School.
To view live broadcasts of the Vigil Service and Mass, please go to www.heafeyheafey.com and click the “View Live Cast” button on the home page.
Born James “Jim” Edward McNamara in Detroit, Michigan on March 16, 1942, to Edward and Mercedes McNamara, he was the eldest of 9 children and grew up in nearby Westland, attending Catholic elementary school and Sacred Heart Seminary (Detroit) for high school. After high school he attended Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti where he met the love of his life, Mary Jo Vloet, at the Newman Club. They dated through college and were married on February 24, 1967.
Jim was ROTC, called to active duty in the US Army right after their wedding. His first assignment was a brief stay in Maryland, followed by a
posting to the UK, where his first child, Carol, was born. The following year, expecting their second, he was given orders for Vietnam and his wife and growing family spent the year with his in-laws waiting for his safe return. Jim served in two different capacities during the war and was promoted to Captain while there, earning not just the respect of the men in his command, but military honors as well. His time tending to battlefield equipment is the most likely culprit of the Agent Orange cancer that precipitated his passing, but never once did he complain. He returned home in time to see son David’s first steps.
Son Mark joined the family in Ft. Riley, Kansas and shortly after that Jim transitioned to the private sector due to the wind-down of the war. He took a job at Genuine Auto Parts, merging his love of both management and mechanics, eventually landing in Omaha, Nebraska. In the mid-70’s he changed careers and started at Mutual of Omaha, eventually moving from sales to support but always with the massive respect of those he served.
Involvement at St. Gerald’s was always a priority. After David and Mark started in the grade school, Jim was elected to the school board for the first of several terms. He was instrumental in the efforts to build the gym addition and convert the former gym to classrooms. The Knights of Columbus was an important part of Jim’s life. He was a charter member of the council at St. Gerald’s serving as its first Grand Knight. Jim held several state offices and also served as Faithful Navigator of the Fourth Degree Assembly.
Jim and Mary Jo always enjoyed spending time with their grandchildren: Austin, Victoria, Brady, Casslyn, Jillian and Andrew. Retirement gave them more time to travel for cooking and concerts, graduations and games, and all the little moments of their lives. He always made sure the freezer was stocked with sweet treats to share with them and he never passed up an opportunity to make them laugh. Jim was often the loudest sideline cheerleader and first to stand at the end of a show, and even when he could no longer attend in person he rarely missed any game or show that technology provided.
Jim kept very busy after he retired, taking up several hobbies and odd jobs ranging from driving a limousine, reading for Radio Talking Book, participating in a Saturday morning men’s group at church, bird watching from his deck, and of course golfing whenever and wherever he could.
By far, the best and most cherished part of Jim’s life were the 54 wonderful years he got to spend with his biggest supporter, best friend, and love of his life, Mary Jo. He was always incredibly grateful for the many ways she supported his aspirations and the beautiful life and family they were able to create together. Jim leaves behind a legacy to live life to the fullest, seize every opportunity in front of you and to find a way to laugh and love each and every day.