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James  B. McConville

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“The first time I met Jim he got right into his research on the flight dynamics of aircraft. He then later provided me a copy of his most recent works...Read More »
1 of 8 | Posted by: A friend

“Oh my. I am sad to hear of Jim's passing. Through the years I thought of him often as our careers took us in many directions. I first met him when...Read More »
2 of 8 | Posted by: James Dunton - Las Vegas, NV

“Liz, John and all the Family - Cathy & I send a deepest sympathy on Jim"s passing.I spent many wonderful years consulting with Jim and I truly...Read More »
3 of 8 | Posted by: Dan Kunitzer - St Pete Beach, FL

“I had many encounters with Jim McConville over two decades. What I can uniquely record for remembrance here are some of the performances we, and...Read More »
4 of 8 | Posted by: Kenneth Koral - Ann Arbor, MI

“Jim was a wonderful man who made the world a better place by being in it. He loved his wife and children to the moon and back, and back again. He...Read More »
5 of 8 | Posted by: Barb Dowdle - Family

“It was a great pleasure to have known JimWe remember fondly the times we spent with Jim in London and Florida, his kindness and unique sense of...Read More »
6 of 8 | Posted by: BILL WHARLDALL - Family

“I worked with Jim at MSC Software. It was impossible to have boring conversation with him on any subject. I loved the fact that, in a world of...Read More »
7 of 8 | Posted by: Mike Belczynski - Wayne, MI

“To the McConville family-Paul and I remember you as being such good neighbors to us for many years in Ann Arbor. We are saddened to read of Jim's...Read More »
8 of 8 | Posted by: A friend

Love Emblem

James B. McConville passed away on January 12, 2020 in the comfort of his home, surrounded by family who lovingly cared for him. "Jim" was a truly remarkable human. Undeterred by illness, he spent the last of his days using contemporary engineering methods to re-design world war II aircraft and writing engineering texts spanning across a wide range of topics from virtual prototyping to the intersection of finite element analysis and computational fluid dynamics. He self-published Talewinds, a collection of aviation stories in 2018.

In addition to being an accomplished engineer and author, Jim was a loving father and husband, a rugby player, a philosopher, a teacher and an artist. Perhaps his most remarkable achievement was managing these roles with an earnest humility, which cracked only subtly if conversation stumbled upon his esoteric passions.

Jim was born in Spartanburg, South Carolina, on February 12, 1944 to Wanda L. McConville (nee Flanders) and Major John B. McConville, an infantry officer in WWII who died unexpectedly when Jim was a teenager. The moral and physical courage of his father during that war left a lasting impact on Jim, who carried a zeal for WWII history all his life.

Jim spent most of his childhood in upstate New York and graduated from Rye High School in 1961. He studied Aeronautical Engineering and German at the University of Virginia until 1966. He credited his work under the auspices of Dr. Walter Heilbronner (a German Jew who narrowly escaped the Holocaust) and Dr. William Zuk as playing a pivotal role in his life. After graduating from UVA, he took a job with the Lockheed Corporation in Marietta, Georgia. It was there that he stumbled upon another hobby, Rugby, and became a member of the Atlanta Rugby Football Club.

Jim's time in Georgia allowed him to nurture his penchant for languages with the pursuit of a Master's degree in Language Education from the University of Georgia. His studies were succeeded by work with Clark Equipment Company, Ingersoll Rand, and Mechanical Dynamics (now MSC Software). Jim's tenure at Mechanical Dynamics/MSC was the highlight of his professional career. He spoke enthusiastically about his colleagues until the day he died. For Jim's work in developing technical models and methods as well as his mentoring and inspiring of colleagues and customers alike, MSC recognized him with a Technical Fellowship in 2014.

Jim's stint with Clark Equipment company in the late 70s brought him to Battle Creek where he happened upon one particular Mary Elizabeth "Liz" Dowdle. Liz and Jim were married 26 April, 1980. He often remarked that meeting Liz was the best thing that ever happened to him, and that he not only fell in love with her, but with her entire family.

With his background, it should not be surprising that Jim was at ease discussing theoretical physics, philosophy, engineering, and World War II but that small talk was not his forte, so he often resorted to a collection of endearing one-liners, most notably,
"Go get 'em, tiger!"

It was difficult to watch Jim suffer in the later part of his life, but this was assuaged in part by the caretakers who loved Jim as if he were their own (and partook in his engineering projects as he dictated instructions). He considered himself fortunate to bask in the warmth and affection of the family and friends who came together to support him to the very end.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents, and his brother, John F. McConville. He is survived by his wife, Mary E. McConville, his son, Maj Sean C. McConville (USAF), his daughter Katherine M. McConville, her fiancé, Michigan State Trooper, Frank Tafralian and many beloved in-laws, cousins, nieces and nephews.

Cremation has taken place. A memorial service will be held Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at St. Mary Student Parish, 331 Thompson St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104 (Parking available next-door in the city parking structure, payment required) with a luncheon to follow. A visitation with the family will precede the service at 9:00 a.m.

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