RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - John F. 'Jack' McDonnell, father of Governor Robert F. McDonnell, passed away this morning in Fairfax County. He was 94.
Jack was born in Peabody, Massachusetts on April 15, 1916, the oldest of four children and the son of Irish immigrants. A member of "The Greatest Generation," he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps shortly before the attack on Pearl Harbor.
According to a release from the office of the governor, during World War II, he served in Thurleigh, England with the 306th Bomb Group of the 8th Air Force. Jack would serve 23 years on active duty in the Air Force, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1964. He went on to a second career with the U.S. Naval Investigative Service.
A strong believer in education, he completed his Masters Degree in Education from the University of Maryland after leaving the military. He stressed to his children the importance of obtaining a good education, and all his children graduated from college.
In lieu of flowers, friends may honor Mr. McDonnell by contributing to the Emma and Jack McDonnell Memorial Scholarship Fund at Mount Vernon.
Details on services will be made available at the appropriate time. The governor's public events for this week and next will be amended to attend to his family.