Humility and Hard Work
A Catholic Legacy Story
By the time he was 16 years old, Jim MacDougald faced more than his share of tragedy. In the spring of 1943, his brother Edward, one of four MacDougald brothers serving in World War II, was killed in action in the Pacific. A few months later, Jim's father died suddenly.
"It was a tough situation during a time that was already challenging," said Jim's son Brian MacDougald, who said his father grew up in a family of seven children "without two nickels to rub together."
Then came the blessing that changed Jim's life. He was awarded a scholarship to the local Catholic high school.
"My father said this made him the man he became, taught him right from wrong and prepared him for his business and family life," said Brian.
After graduating college, and at the height of the Korean War, Jim enlisted in the Air Force. He was selected for the Air Force football team, trained as a pilot, built a military career and reached the rank of Colonel. After that, Jim went to work for a Colorado Springs company called AMI but before long, the owners filed for bankruptcy. But that didn't deter Jim.
"A few guys, including my Dad took a big chance, took out a loan and bought the business," said Brian. "It was pretty gutsy."
Jim and his partners turned the company around, took it out of bankruptcy and paid off 100% of the debt, "something my father was very proud of," said Brian. Jim and his partners eventually sold their company for "a very handsome price," but Brian said his Dad never "acted like he was rich."
"My Dad drove an old car and gave a lot of money to charity," said Brian. "He was very humble."
Brian said his father believed in "giving to the right things for the right reasons and never to get his name on a wall." He recalls how his father donated to his favorite causes, especially the church, Catholic schools, Catholic charities as well as Pikes Peak Hospice telling him "if you've been blessed, you should give until you really feel it."
Jim and his wife Michaele (known to many as "Mike") were founding members of Colorado Springs' Holy Apostles Catholic Church and, according to Father Paul Wicker, were "part of the driving force" that helped build the new church. Dedicated on the Feast of the Assumption in 1987, Holy Apostles is the spiritual home to more than 2,300 families.
Jim MacDougald passed away in January of 2013 and Michaele was called home to the Lord two years later. Father Wicker recalls the MacDougal's as "awesome people" who as Catholics "worshipped and praised God by living a sacramental life." He also speaks of the charitable aspect of their Catholicism, reminding us that "Jesus came to serve and not be served and we are to follow that example in our service to others."
Since the MacDougalds cared deeply about their church, Catholic education and the future of the Catholic Church in Central Colorado, they made provisions in their estate plans. They named The Catholic Foundation of the Diocese of Colorado Springs as a beneficiary and left a large bequest that will help people for years to come. A portion of their bequest was unrestricted, advancing the mission of the Catholic Foundation. They also specified a large gift be made to establish the Holy Apostles Church Endowment for Catholic Education Tuition Assistance, a gift Father Wicker notes is "the largest monetary gift we've ever received."
"My Father said his Catholic education changed his life and he wanted young people to have the same chance he had," said Jim's son Brian. "This gift will make sure that happens."
"If you really believe in something-the way my father believed in Catholic education-you find a way to help that cause and enrich it to the best of your ability," said Brian.