James Donald McClure, 86, died of natural causes on March 3, 2014, in the presence of loving family members. Born June 2, 1927, in Knoxville, to James Wren McClure and Agnes Catherine Lee, Donald was the middle sibling to brother John Robert “Jack” (Wilma) McClure of Lovilia, and sister Patricia (John) Campana of Sun City West, Ariz. He enlisted in the Navy at age 17 and was deployed to the Philippines as a SeaBee (Construction Battalion) member. Returning home to Knoxville, he married Roberta Ann Thompson on Oct. 18, 1948. Donald worked for Northland (later Flynn) Dairy, and he and Ann raised six children.
The family moved to south Des Moines in 1968, a few years later relocating to Urbandale. Donald continued working for the dairy, retiring after 25 years. He took up part time work as a school-bus driver. He and Ann began to welcome grandchildren to the McClure clan, and their home was a bustling gathering place. They affectionately became “Papa” and “Andy.”
Ann’s job with the IRS offered the opportunity to move around the country, and in 1987 the couple headed to Terrell, Texas, where they built a house and began new hobbies, including Donald’s training and showing of their two Giant Schnauzers. From Texas, they moved to Bountiful, Utah, where Donald trained and showed horses and rode his beloved horse, J.R., given to him by Jack and Wilma.
When Ann retired, they packed again and moved to “Misty Meadows,” outside Winlock, Wash., which came to be known as “the mini-farm” by their children and grandchildren. Donald planted an extensive garden and continued to train colts and show them. He and Ann spent many a day industriously pursuing their hobbies and chores. Papa built miniature red barns for grandchildren and was known to patiently guide the youngsters as they tried their hands at his workbench.