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Former Mill Valley Schools Chief James Patrick McDonough Passes Away at 77

James "Pat" McDonough, who lived his wonderful life "with no regrets," died peacefully at his home in Sonoma, California on July 20, 2012.

James "Pat" McDonough, a former superintendent for the who lived his wonderful life "with no regrets," died peacefully at his home in Sonoma, California on July 20, 2012.  He is survived by his wife, Diana McDonough, his son Mike, daughters Chris and Yvette, stepdaughters Indira and Val, and eight adoring grandchildren.

Pat was born to the late Bartly and Victoria McDonough on April 7, 1935, in Salt Lake City, Utah, the third of six children, five boys and one girl. He married Diana McDonough on April 3, 1993. They lived together in Mill Valley, then moved to Park City, Utah, where they lived for two years before relocating to Sonoma in 2002.

Pat graduated from Salt Lake’s East High School in 1953, after attending Judge Memorial for many years. Soon afterwards, he joined the Navy, serving as a corpsman at Oak Knoll Naval Hospital in Oakland. After his military service, Pat settled in San Francisco, married, and started a family. For seven years Pat worked full-time loading freight for United Air Lines while attending San Francisco State University and obtaining his teaching credential. There he obtained his BA and teaching credential, later returning for his MA and administrative credential. 

In 1965, he began teaching at in Mill Valley and soon, tired of the fog and the commute from Daly City, relocated his family to Marin County. Pat’s career with the Mill Valley School District spanned 28 years, serving as teacher, vice principal, principal, and finally as superintendent, a post he held for eleven years before retiring on June 30, 1993. Pat was admired, respected, and loved by his students and colleagues.

Pat loved fly fishing, nature photography, gardening, and playing golf with his buddies, to name just a few of his favorite pastimes. Pat was very special to his family and many friends for his thoughtfulness, compassion, warm smile, laughter, wit, silly jokes, and the ease which we all felt around him. He was also a great dancer! He never forgot a birthday, anniversary, special event, or personal milestone. Pat lived life on his own terms, showed enormous courage in difficult times, and embraced all that life had to offer. It is with great sadness that we, his family and dear friends, bid him farewell, but Pat will live on in our hearts forever.

A celebration of Pat's life will take place on Friday August 17, 10:30 a.m. at Estate Restaurant, 400 W. Spain Street, Sonoma. You can leave a condolence or remembrance here

In lieu of flowers, donations in Pat's name can be made to Hospice by the Bay, 190 West Napa Street, Sonoma, CA 95476, or Global Grandmothers, PO Box 504, Sonoma, CA 95476.

Derek Wilson July 24, 2012 at 07:37 PM
Pat McDonough was one of the reasons Mill Valley's schools have such a great history. He was more than a books-and-tests guy. He spent time with the students just having fun and making friends. We'll all miss our good friend.
Rebecca Chapman July 24, 2012 at 09:07 PM
mr. mcdonough brought me joy upon joy each time i was sent to the principal's office during 7th & 8th grades. whenever my friends torture me with stories about my screaming tears (after not being particularly nice to my teachers, obviously), i am often brought back to those lovely moments of learning to right myself, however temporarily, with so much patience guiding me back towards calm. thank you, dear man.

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