Jerome-John Donald McGonigal, 82, entered into eternal life on September 13, 2016. He went peacefully with his family at his side.
John was born on the Spring of Gladness Ranch in Blaine County. He was raised on the ranch with his Father George P. McGonigal, his mom “Mother” Mary Brown McGonigal, and brothers Michael, Thomas, and George.
John attended Bellevue High School and graduated at Baker High School in Baker, Montana, where he was living with his brother Thomas.
John was trained in the field of welding as a young man. John worked as a welder in Pocatello and Boise for Morrison Knudson. John was very well known for his welding abilities, creativeness, and skills.
John served honorably in the United States Army in Korea from 1955-1957. After his army career John returned to Blaine County where he welded for Pete Johnson. John also continued to assist “Mother” working on the Spring of Gladness Ranch. During this time John, along with his brother George, invented a post driver, which continues to drive posts in the Wood River Valley to this day.
John met the love of his life, Rosemary Hof, at the Labor Day Parade in Ketchum, Idaho in 1963. Rosemary, as well as so many others, was stricken by “those beautiful blue eyes”. They were married on November 27, 1965 at St. Jerome’s Catholic Church. They settled in Hailey where he continued his welding, while Rosemary taught school at Bellevue Elementary School. While in Hailey John was a member of the Blaine County School Board.
They moved to Jerome in 1972 where John built a house on “The Butte”. John turned a butte covered with sagebrush and lava rocks into a highly successful farming operation. John was well respected for his farming expertise and farmed multiple properties in Jerome and Blaine Counties up until the end of his life. While living on the Butte John donated his time, tractor, and home designed snow blower to move the drifting snows at the Ascension Priory.
In 1998 John and Rosemary sold their place on the Butte and moved to Rosemary’s family’s farms north of Jerome, where John continued to farm until his death. John’s farm has been, and continues to this day, to be worked on by John’s longtime friend Johnny Fernandez, whom was hired by John as a sprinkler pipe mover when he was 13 years old.
John really enjoyed playing golf with his friends. John was a long time member of the Jerome Country Club. He played in tournaments throughout the Magic Valley. During this time he spent two terms on the board of the Jerome Country Club. John also was a member of the Knights of Columbus and the Elks Lodge.
John enjoyed playing cards with his friends, but his true Jackpot was meeting his wife Rosemary of 51 years.
John was a wonderful friend to all who knew him. His generosity and kindness were legendary. John assisted so many people in so many ways through his years. In his later years John selflessly volunteered his pickup and trailer to deliver food to needy people through the Food Bank. He will be missed by so many, but so many lives have been touched by John’s kindness, acceptance, and generosity.
He is preceded in death by his mother and father, Mary and George, his brothers Michael, Thomas, and George, and a nephew Patrick.
He is survived by his loving wife Rosemary, his niece Maureen McGonigal Patterson, and his nephews David, Dennis, and Michael McGonigal. John treated these people as his own children, as well as the many other nieces and nephews from his brothers Michael and Thomas McGonigal.
A Vigil service with Rosary will be held at 7:00 p.m. , Sunday, September 18, 2016 , at St. Jerome Catholic Church, 216 2 nd Avenue East, Jerome. A Mass of Resurrection will be held at 10:00 a.m. , Monday, September 19, 2016, also at St. Jerome Catholic Church. Following will be a reception for John’s family and friends. A graveside service will follow at the Twin Falls Cemetery. Arrangements are under the care of Farnsworth Mortuary of Jerome.
John’s family would like to sincerely thank the wonderful staff at St. Luke’s Hospital in Twin Falls. Their love and care for John and his family was unforgettable.