James E. McNamara

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.



  • Mary Ellen STIVERSON Posted July 31, 2021 10:43 pm

    So sorry for the loss of such a wonderful man. God knew he needed to be with Mary Jo.

  • Massimina Caneva Posted August 3, 2021 2:36 pm

    Carol e famiglia (McNamara e Manzetti), sincere condoglianze, Think your parents close again and always close to you. Forza! Much love Mina

  • Jason and Linda Richards Posted August 5, 2021 10:06 am

    Their amazing journey together continues. May God bless your family with memories. Continue their legacy of life, service and love for others!

  • Diane Musfeldt Posted August 5, 2021 3:13 pm

    Carol and family, so sorry for your loss. The obit was a wonderful tribute to a man who lived life and loved his family. May you be comforted by many fond memories.

  • Mike and Rene Meier Posted August 5, 2021 3:20 pm

    Our deepest condolences. Your dad was a kind and holy man. He must have missed your mom greatly. Our prayers are with all of your family and with your parents. May they both be received into Heaven with all of their holy works guiding their way. God bless.

  • Tom and Helena Doll Posted August 6, 2021 8:23 am

    We sat down and talked about Mary Jo at the visitation at Church.
    Jim also confided to us about his health. We talked about Jim and Mary Jo’s Cruise for their 53rd anniversary. We were married the same year they were. He told us about the Cruise and the book about their trip on the memorial table.
    Jim was very alert and hid any pain he might have been in.

    Our kids went to Gross with their kids and Mark and our children Natalie and Mike were on the Gross swim team together.

    Jim knew I golfed a lot and he asked me about my game.
    It was a great time to spend with Jim and little did we know it would be the last time we would see him.

    We cannot attend the funeral as we had other commitments, but our prayers and rosaries have included Jim and Mary Jo, for the past few weeks.

    There is so much more to say, like how much they loved their kids and Grandkids, and many others. We are glad we had that moment.

    God Bless Jim and Mary Jo, and peace be with the family.

    Tom and Helena Doll

  • Patricia Matula Posted August 6, 2021 3:53 pm

    Glad I had the joy 🤩 f meeting your parents. They greeted me so warmly. You represent their legacy wonderfully. So glad SMU lured you to Dallas❤️

  • Theresa Winship Posted November 14, 2021 12:47 pm

    Please accept my sincere condolences on the loss of your Dad. I worked at MOO and Jim often had breakfast :with us. He was very much a gentleman and fun to be around. I used to see him at church ,7:00A.M. but when he was mentioned this A.M. I thought I’d better “Google him” Sure enough” he had passed. He is a Soldier in Christ and Jesus is forming His Army and Jim had to be there. You are in my thoughts and prayers! God Bless.

Sign Guestbook

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *