James H. Donnelly

November 27, 1928 ~ June 14, 2023 (age 94) 94 Years Old


James Henry Donnelly, a man of faith and great love for his family, passed peacefully to eternal life Wednesday, June 14, 2023 at his home in Kenwood. He was 94.

Jim and his wife Jean lovingly raised 10 children (somehow…) in their home on Paw Paw Lane, designed by Jim in 1960. Jean and Jim later became Nana and Papa to 31 grandchildren, and their special house was home, or felt like home, for many more including older family members, friends of the kids, and countless others. Jim/Papa shared a special bond with his grandchildren, each a unique and special person to him.

Born in 1928, Jim grew up in Hyde Park and studied architecture at the University of Cincinnati, graduating in 1952. After Army ROTC at UC, Jim served as a second lieutenant in the army, including service in Korea, where he designed and oversaw construction of Book Han San Orphanage in Seoul. He saved only a few photos from his military service; most show him with the children.

After military service, Jim was a founding partner of Baxter Hodell Donnelly Preston (BHDP), a national architecture firm based in Cincinnati. Many co-workers became close friends, and their respect and care for the firm’s clients led to long-standing relationships, decades of steady work, and a strong firm that continues to thrive long after the departure of the founders.

Jim is survived by children Mary Helen (Greg) Hedgebeth, Jim (Joan) Donnelly, Patrick (Patty) Donnelly, Michael (Sharon) Donnelly, Lee Anne (Thomas) Conroy, Jean (David) Beblo, Catherine (Marty) Buckley, Ned (Anne) Donnelly, Martha (Gary) Ray, and Elizabeth (Jim) Dolan. Also 30 grandchildren: Catherine, Kristen (Jason), Megan (Chris), Jessica (David), Michael (Emily), James, Nathan, David, Anna, Gabriel, Joel, Jack, Susan, Mary, John, Mark, George, Henry, David, Kate (Tyler), Meg (Andy), Sr. M. Gloria, Annmarie, Abby, Thomas, Sarah, Ryan, Stella, Sean and Chris, and two great grandchildren Donnelly and Michael. Jim was preceded in death by his wife of 58 years, Jean Marie (Switzer) Donnelly and granddaughter Julia.

Mass of Christian Burial at All Saints Catholic Church in Kenwood on July 5 at 11:30 am.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Hospice of Cincinnati or other good causes.

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Mass of Christian Burial
July 5, 2023

11:30 AM
All Saints Catholic Church
8939 Montgomery Rd
Cincinnati, OH 45236


Hospice of Cincinnati
P.O. Box 633597, Cincinnati OH 45263
Tel: 1-513-865-1616


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