Cover photo for Alfred Thomas McDonnell's Obituary
Alfred Thomas McDonnell Profile Photo
1937 Alfred 2015

Alfred Thomas McDonnell

November 30, 1937 — April 18, 2015

Alfred Thomas McDonnell, Jr. of Boulder — known to his many friends simply as Tom — died Saturday, April 18, 2015 in Boulder, due to complications from hip surgery. Tom loved practicing and teaching law, but the true loves of his life were his three daughters, Anne, Caitlin and Emily, and wife Jo, whom friends credited with “taking the edge off his curmudgeonliness” in later life. He was born July 3, 1938, in Chicago, the son of Alfred Thomas McDonnell, Sr. and Mary Elizabeth Fitzgerald. He graduated from Loyola Academy in Chicago and went on to the College of the Holy Cross, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1960, and graduated from the Harvard School of Law in 1964. After graduation from law school he married Madeline Cass. They later divorced. He married Jo Frances Walsh on July 7, 2001 in Boulder. In his long and satisfying career, Tom became part of numerous prestigious law firms, including Foley, Hoag and Eliot, 1964-70, Arnold & Porter, 1986-2006 and Hutchinson, Black and Cook, 2006-2008. He was a member of the American Bar Association and the Colorado Bar Association. He handled big cases for a wide range of clients, including tobacco giant Philip Morris and the Hopi Indian tribe in its struggles over land with the Navajo Nation. One young colleague thought of him as the “conscience of the firm,” a man who cared deeply about his clients. From 1970 to 1986 Tom served as professor of law and associate dean at the University of Colorado School of Law and for many years it seemed that half the lawyers in Boulder were former students or colleagues. Young lawyers looked up to him as a leader, teacher and example at every firm where he worked. Much more than a keen intellect, Tom had a great sense of humor and approached everything he did, from teaching law to coaching his daughter Anne’s soccer team, with nuance and respect. He is survived by his wife Jo, of Boulder; daughters Anne Haven McDonnell, of Santa Fe, N.M., Caitlin Grace McDonnell of Brooklyn, New York, and Emily Cass McDonnell, also of Brooklyn; a granddaughter, Kaya Hope Friedman; sisters Mary Pat Kalbas (husband Joe), Sheila Mickus (husband the late Ray) and Kathleen McDonnell (Alec Farquhar); brothers Jim McDonnell (Claire), Brian McDonnell (Mary Pat), Bill McDonnell (Mary) and Kevin McDonnell (Toni). He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Michael. A celebration of life will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 16 at the McDonnell home, 1035 Spruce St. in Boulder. Burial took place at Green Mountain Cemetery in Boulder. Contributions may be made through the University of Colorado Foundation to the CU Law School, P.O. Box 17126, Denver, 80217, or the Boulder Community Health Foundation, P.O. Box 9019, Boulder, 80301.
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Service Schedule

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Celebration of LIfe

Saturday, May 16, 2015

2:00 - 5:00 pm (Mountain time)

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