It is with heavy hearts that the family of Jim Donlevy announces the passing of our Jim after a courageous battle with cancer. He is survived by his beloved wife, Elaine; their daughters, Charlynn Parry (Allan), Lisa (Randy Stollery), and Terra Gregory; sons, Keith and Sean; grandchildren, Krista (Neil), Monica, Lex, Michala, and James; Jim’s sister, Marg Donlevy; his brothers, Bob (Nikki), Bill (Heather), and Michael (Robin); as well as many nieces, nephews, and extended family. Jim was predeceased by his son, Glen.
Jim was born in the train station in McLennan, AB. It was here where he developed his lifelong love of trains and would go on to put himself through the UofA working for the N.A.R. He spoke often of his days “riding the rails”, always with a smile.
Jim started coaching football at the age of 16 and his career spanned many decades. His tenure as Head Coach of the UofA Golden Bears resulted in appearances in four national championships and winning two Vanier Cups. Recognition of Jim was reflected in his five Coach of the Year awards at the provincial and national levels, an honorary degree from Athabasca University, the WHL Governor’s Award, and his two-time induction into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame. His latest induction (2019) was as a Builder for Football and Hockey.
A modest man, Jim attributed his success to his great mentors and to the fine men with whom he coached. Jim was an educator and committed to the development of young people and inspired them to realize their potential, both within sport and beyond. He was most proud of his role in creating, building, and maintaining the Western Hockey League Scholarship Program after his retirement from the UofA in 1992. For over two decades, Jim developed a league-wide system of education advisors and set academic standards where over 6,000 student athletes have benefited since the scholarship’s inception. Jim valued this legacy highly. Following his second retirement, his love of sport and education drew him to inspire and offer guidance and experience to the young players, parents, and coaches of the Nitro Xpress midget girls hockey team in his cherished second home, Kimberley, BC.
For Jim, gatherings were special times. Surrounded by family and friends, these events typically lasted many hours. With Jim’s good fellowship, his “Jim-isms”, and genuine interest in those around him, there were lots of stories and much joy. Jim was a good man who lived by committed principles and a deep love of his family and friends. His infectious laugh and smile brightened our days and filled our hearts. Jim’s highly sought advice and counsel were deeply valued by many. He loved each of us unconditionally and we will miss him dearly.
We would like to thank Dr. Laatsch, Rose, Cindy, the staff of SHC Hospital, and Southwood Hospice who treated Jim with professionalism and compassionate care throughout his journey.
To celebrate Jim’s life, a memorial mass will be held at St. James Catholic Church (338040 32 St E, De Winton, AB) on Tuesday, August 13, 2019 at 1:00 pm.
In lieu of flowers, memorial tributes may be made directly to KidSport Canada (http://www.kidsportcanada.ca).