Edward James Mara Jr.
December 1, 1929 to January 30, 2023
Jim Mara, died at home on January 30th, 2023 surrounded by his loving daughters. “Papa” is survived by his three daughters, MegAnn Mara-Smith, Kay Mara, and Petrea Mara, all of Hailey, Idaho; his beloved grandchildren, Dr. Hanson Smith of Oceanside, CA, Annika Smith of Berkeley, CA and E. J. “Jimmy” Mara IV of Seattle, WA; his sister Colleen Mara-Robinson of Camario, CA; and his daughter-in-law Hyun Joo Park Mara of Flower Mound, TX. He was preceded in death by his wife Bonnie Zirbel Mara and his son Edward James Mara III.
Jim was born in Seattle, WA on December 1, 1929 to Catherine Hayes Mara and Edward James Mara. He spent his childhood years in San Francisco, CA. His shared childhood memories included the historic 1937 opening of The Golden Gate Bridge where he roller skated with throngs of children in celebration, the poverty of the Depression and selling newspapers on street corners, and the fresh sourdough bread.
Jim graduated in 1950 from Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose, CA. He often expressed gratitude for his Jesuit education where the values of faith, justice, and truth were instilled in him. He served in the Army from 1951 to 1953, attaining the rank of 2nd Lieutenant Airborne and serving as Jumpmaster Instructor and Interrogator, the latter being a skill his children can attest never dwindled.
Jim took advantage of the GI Bill and graduated from San Jose State College with a B.S. in Chemistry. While attending college, Jim met Bonnie, the love of his life, on a blind date. It was not an immediate match, but as luck would have it, she granted him a second chance at romance. They were wed on August 2,1953 at Saint Michael's Catholic Church in Boulder Creek, CA and were married for 60 years until Bonnie's death in 2013.
Jim joined Firestone in Long Beach, CA in 1956 as a mechanical test engineer. His career with Firestone expanded into marketing and management positions which moved his family from California to Ohio, Indiana, and Arkansas. He retired from Firestone in 1984 to found the American Fuel Cell and Coated Fabric Company, based in Magnolia, AR. Jim and Bonnie retired to Hailey in 1995, and he spent his days enjoying his family and the Idaho outdoors.
From backpacking in the high Sierras as a young man to following the route of Lewis and Clark in later years, Jim found the pleasures of the world wherever he lived and traveled. Jim’s most notable excursions were the potentially one-way, solo camel trek to The Valley of the Kings, the donkey ride to Kalaupapa, kissing the Blarney Stone, and a trip to the North Pole.
In his later years, blindness limited Jim’s ability to enjoy travel and the wilderness as he once had, but he never complained. Alexa and Audible books provided endless hours of listening pleasure. He listened to hundreds of books on history, with his favorites being presidential biographies and anything on the Lewis and Clark expedition. He attended The Senior Connection in Hailey where he enjoyed the exercise classes and wonderful lunches with his many friends.
Family will hold a graveside service at 11:00 am, Thursday, March 2, 2023 at the Hailey Cemetery where he will be buried alongside Bonnie, with Father Ronald Wekerle officiating. May you rest in peace Papa…you are missed.