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James S. McDonnell

AKA James Smith McDonnell, Jr.

Born: 9-Apr-1899
Birthplace: Denver, CO
Died: 22-Aug-1980
Location of death: St. Louis, MO
Cause of death: Stroke
Remains: Buried, Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis, MO

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Business, Aviator

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Founder of McDonnell Aircraft Co.

Military service: US Army (1917-18); Army Air Service Reserve (1923-25)

James S. McDonnell studied aeronautical engineering at MIT, then worked as a pilot and engineer until starting his own company, McDonnell Aircraft, on 6 July 1939. The company was known for its military planes, including the FH-1 Phantom, F-4 Phantom 2, the F-15 Eagle, and the F-18 Hornet, and was also a leading contractor on NASA's Mercury and Gemini spaceshots. McDonnell Aircraft merged with Douglas Aircraft to become McDonnell-Douglas in 1967, and was absorbed into Boeing in 1997, seventeen years after McDonnell's death.

McDonnell was the founder of the James S. McDonnell Foundation, which funds scientific research and scholarship, and the namesake of the McDonnell Planetarium in St. Louis. He was also a firm believer in psychic phenomena, and in his latter years he established the McDonnell Laboratory for Psychical Research, to study extrasensory perception, mind-over-matter, and predictions of the future. The Laboratory, however, was set up under the auspices of the more respectable James S. McDonnell Foundation, and closed when funding for occult and paranormal research was discontinued five years after McDonnell's death.

Father: James McDonnell (grocer)
Wife: Mary Elizabeth Finney McDonnell (m. 30-Jun-1934, d. 1949, two sons)
Son: James Smith McDonnell III (McDonnell-Douglas executive, b. 1936)
Son: John Finney McDonnell (McDonnell-Douglas executive, b. 1938)
Wife: Priscilla Brush Forney (m. 1-Apr-1956)

    High School: Little Rock High School, Little Rock, AR (1917)
    University: BS Physics, Princeton University (1921)
    University: MS Aeronautical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1925)

    Collier Trophy 1966
    Daniel Guggenheim Medal 1963
    McDonnell Aircraft Founder & President (1939-67)
    Member of the Board of McDonnell Aircraft 1939-67 (Chairman, 1962-67)
    McDonnell-Douglas CEO (1967-72)
    Member of the Board of McDonnell-Douglas 1967-80 (Chairman 1972-80)
    Scottish Ancestry


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