James Edward McAleer, Jr. of Savannah passed away at home on February 20, 2021. Jim was born in Savannah in 1927. He attended public schools, but left high school at age 17 to join the Marine Corps. He returned home after the end of the Second World War, went back to school, then enrolled in Armstrong College and also attended law classes at night, studying under Mr. Gilbert Johnson. He was activated in August of 1950 with Dog Company, 10th Infantry Battalion, United States Marine Corps Reserve, and served in Korea, including the Chosin Reservoir Campaign. When he returned home, he completed school, passed the Bar exam, and was admitted to the practice of law in 1953.
He served as President of both the Savannah Bar Association and the Savannah Plaintiffs Trial Lawyers Club, and was the recipient of the Professionalism Award by the Savannah Bar Association in 2001 for “exemplifying the highest professional standards and making outstanding contributions in the area of community service”. He was admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States. He also served as Chairman of the Chatham County Hospital Authority and is a Past Master of Acacia Lodge #452 Free and Accepted Masons, having served as Chairman of the Trial Commission for the first Masonic District. He served as Commandant of the Marine Corps League of Savannah. He was a member of the Governmental Study Commission appointed by the Georgia Legislature, served on the Democratic Executive Committee, and was Chairman of the Chatham County Jury Commission.
Jim retired from the practice of law in April 2003 after 53 years. He is the author of two books: “Out of Savannah Dog Company USMCR” and “Confessions of a South Georgia Lawyer.” He received a “Certificate of Commendation” from the Veterans Council of Chatham County for the writing of “Out of Savannah.”
McAleer was an active member of St. Luke United Methodist Church where he had held a number of leadership positions. He taught Sunday School for over 40 years, and believed that faith is not only to be believed, but practiced in daily life. He was involved in many volunteer activities, especially KAIROS prison ministry. His life of integrity remains a testament to his faith.
He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Grace Cleland McAleer; by his children; Derek (Charlene), Michelle (Ralph Champion), and Jim; and by his brother Charles (Fran). He was preceded in death by his sister Katherine Burdsal and his son David. He leaves behind 6 grandchildren, 7 great-grandchildren, and numerous other relatives. He enjoyed close relationships with his family members over the years.
A private service for family will be held. Arrangements are in care of Fox & Weeks Funeral Directors. Remembrances may be sent to St. Luke United Methodist Church, 9114 Whitefield Avenue, Savannah, GA 31406.
On behalf of the children, staff and trustees of The Methodist Home for Children, we offer our sincere condolences to Mrs. McAleer, Derek and his family and all the members of the McAleer family. May the peace and presence of God be near today and in the days ahead.
- Alison Evans, CEO of The Methodist Home, Macon, GA
Sympathy is expressed to the family during this time of loss.
- Donald Rhodes, Warner Robins, GA
So sorry to hear about this. Thoughts and prayers for you all.
- Elizabeth Kamalakis , Savannah , GA
Dear Grace and Derek, may God comfort you as you grieve. I praise God with you for your 58 years of marriage. May those happy memories -- and our hope of the resurrection -- sustain you at this time of loss. We remain grateful for your friendship and support through St Luke's.
- John and Rosalie Rentz, Tauranga, New Zealand
On behalf of myself and the Baconton United Methodist Church, we offer our sincere condolences to the McAleer family. May the peace and comfort of Almighty God be with you during this time.
- Ernie Rogers, Albany, GA
Over the years I have preached at St. Luke several times and it was always a joy to visit with Mr. McAleer. God bless you as you celebrate his homegoing!!!
- Jim Rush, Homewood , Alabama
Derek, we did not know your father but our prayers are with you and the family! Seems like he was a pillar in the church and community and blessed others along the way!
- Philip & Renny Lord, Dexter, Ga
“Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.” With these words from Psalm 116:7, the South Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church celebrates the bountiful life of Jim McAleer. We thank Jim and Grace for their bountiful family life and their faithful membership in St. Luke UMC. They continue to bless our annual conference through Derek’s pastoral service and his current leadership as Director of Administrative Services. The family legacy of faithfulness to Christ and His Church endures from generation to generation. Thanks be to God. Bishop R. Lawson Bryan South Georgia Conference The United Methodist Church
- Bishop R. Lawson Bryan, Macon, GA
Derek and Family Members, we pray for you in this time of loss and bereavement that God will undergird each of you with peace and love, and the assurance of God's presence. We hope you will find good memories of a life well-shared with others and uplift one another with many "Jim" stories. Grace and Peace, Jerita and Dennis
- Dr. and Mrs. Dennis Stalvey, Americus, Georgia
On behalf of Howard Chapel UMC in Dublin, Georgia its Pastor, Rev. Cleo Gilchrist and members, we offer our sincere condolences to you Derek and your family. We pray God's comforting arms around you as you celebrate the life and service of your loved one.
- Cheryl King, DUBLIN, GA
Jim McAleer was an outstanding attorney and partnered with our dear friend Oscar Burnett, who later became a priest and Abbott of Belmont Abbey. More importantly, Jim was a perfect Christian Gentleman. Though we lost touch in recent years, I was privileged to call Jim my friend. May he rest in the Peace of Christ.
- Joe Ebberwein, Savannah, Ga.
I am so sorry to hear of Jim's passing, but rejoice that he is with Jesus! My father E. Carson Demmond, from Savannah, may have been in WWII with Jim. He was 4 years older, but returned to Savannah after the war as well. Please know that I am praying for all of your family at this time. Jane Demmond Seaman
- Demmond, Richmond Hill, GA
Praying for your family, Derek.
- Connie Brown, Ailey, GA
I am sorry to hear about the death of Mr. James E. McAleer. My prayers are with the whole family in this time of sorrow. "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." Psalm 116:15
- Daniel Medina, Macon, GA
I knew Mr. Jim from St. Luke. He will be very missed as we pass the pew on the right. He was such a wonderful person and the stories he shared were inspirational. Ms. Grace, I pray for comfort for you and your family.
- Janet Lamb, Savannah, ga
What a man and what a lawyer. Jim McAleer, Esq. made a shy, new attorney feel at home nearly 40 years ago when she arrived in a new town and jumped into practicing law without knowing who to trust. He kept an eye out for her in his impeccable and gentlemanly way and became a guide and role model of integrity and pragmatism for her. His courage and wisdom and fine sense of humor, his character and his story-telling gifts, his estimable lawyer skills and his deep sweetness have meant a lot to that now much older member of the bench. All my sympathies to the McAleer extended family and especially to Mrs. McAleer.
- Louisa Abbot, Savannah, GA
JIM MENTORED ME AS A FRESHMAN LAWYER FROM MECER LAW SCHOOL I SHALL NEVER FORGET THE KINDNESS HE SHOWED ME .
- DAVIS COHEN, SAVANNAH, GA.
We will continue to lift you up in prayers. May God continue to comfort your family in loss of you Husband, Father and Grandfather. Amen.
- Solomon Amusan, savannah, GA
My heartfelt sympathies to all of Jim's family. May he rest in Peace.
- Francesca A. Rehal, Savannah, GA
Michelle, ours thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this difficult time. with Love Ronald & Kathleen
- Ronald & Kathleen Coppage, Savannah, GA
I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. McAleer when I worked summers at Downing McAleer and Gaskin. I remember him a a very friendly out-going person. He was always nice to me.
- Spencer Dillard, Cartersville, GA
Mr. Jim was a friend of my father’s, James F. “Jimmy” Wells. They served in the Korean War together and was in the Dog Company. I wish to send my sincere condolences to the McAleer family. As Mr. Jim entered the gates to heaven, I know that God greeted him with “Well done, good and faithful servant”! God bless you all. Diane Wells Wexel
- Diane Wexel, Guyton, Georgia
We are so sad to hear of Mr. McAleer's passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with you Grace, and with your family. We have such fond memories of our times with you both at St. Luke.
- Janie and Mike Foreman, Savannah, GA
Grace, it was with much interest that I read Jim’s obituary. I recall your telling me about his going on fishing trips to Cedar Key and I still have four beautiful wooden cigar boxes with fish and wildlife depicted on them that you passed on to me from him. My sincere condolences to you and your family on Jim’s passing.
- Les Carter, Savannah, GA
Services under the direction of:
Fox & Weeks Funeral Directors, Hodgson Chapel