August 16, 2018 at 1:44 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Sports enthusiast James McDonald dies at 56
James McDonald obituary, gay news, Washington Blade

James McDonald (Photo courtesy Frank Yodonis)

James “Jimmy Mac” McDonald, a retired retail store manager in Atlanta who was widely known for his active involvement since the early 1980s in gay men’s competitive softball and bowling leagues and whose teams traveled for tournaments to several Mid-Atlantic cities, including D.C., died July 28 of a heart attack at his home in Tucker, Ga. He was 56.

Frank Yodonis, his partner of 35 years, said he quickly learned of McDonald’s interest in softball when the couple first met on Memorial Day weekend in Pittsburgh in 1983. McDonald was participating in a softball tournament as a player for the Pittsburgh Metros, a gay men’s softball team for which McDonald served as coach.

Yodonis said that while he and McDonald lived in Pittsburgh until 1989, the couple traveled to many regional gay softball events, including several in D.C., where they became friends with the late Calvin Steinmetz, a D.C. attorney and avid softball player in D.C.’s gay softball league.

McDonald and Yodonis also traveled to D.C. and other cities to participate in gay men’s bowling tournaments, Yodonis said, including D.C.’s annual Capital Halloween Invitational Tournament in which McDonald won the men’s doubles event in 1986 or 1987.

Yodonis said McDonald was born and raised in Wellsburg, W.Va., and graduated from Brooke County High School. He said McDonald spent most of his career in the retail business, finishing his last job before retiring due to health issues as manager for a Dollar Tree store in Atlanta, where the couple moved in 1987.

According to Yodonis, since first moving to Atlanta he and McDonald also lived in Austin, Texas; Tampa, Fla.; and Raleigh, N.C., before moving back to Atlanta in 2005.

“We had the pleasure of getting to know many metro D.C. sports participants over the years,” said Yodonis. “Many in the bowling and softball communities came to know and love us.”

A memorial service is scheduled to be held for McDonald at Windsor Heights Church of God in Windsor Heights, W.Va. on Aug. 19.

Survivors include his life partner Frank Yodonis; his mother Kathryn Beckett, stepfather Clyde Beckett, stepsister Paula Kokosinski and her husband John Kokosinski; and many nieces and nephews in Wellsburg, W.Va.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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