Va. Gov. McDonnell's Father Has Died

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Bob McDonnell

    John F. "Jack" McDonnell, a World War II veteran and father of Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, died Tuesday. He was 94.

    The elder McDonnell had been ill for years with Alzheimer's disease.

    He was based in England during World War II and flew aboard bombers that made sorties into Nazi-occupied Europe. He served for 23 years in the Air Force.

    The governor is the eldest of five children that Jack and Emma McDonnell raised in a strict Irish-Catholic household in northern Virginia.

    In a 2009 interview, the governor described his father as "a tough, Boston Irish-Catholic Air Force officer who wasn't afraid to use the belt."

    Jack McDonnell was a University of Maryland graduate who taught Sunday school, coached children's baseball and was a fan of the Boston Red Sox and University of Notre Dame athletics.

    In one of his father's last public appearances, the new governor knelt at his Jan. 16 inauguration before his father's wheelchair and kissed his forehead.

    The elder McDonnell was widowed in 1994. He will be buried alongside his wife in Arlington National Cemetery, though funeral arrangements were not immediately available.

    The family request that any contributions be made to the Emma and Jack McDonnell Memorial Scholarship Fund at Mount Vernon, Va.