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James McGinnis dies

February 27, 2009

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Former legislator and Delaware Lt. Governor James D. McGinnis of Dover, Del., died Tuesday at his home after a battle with cancer. He was 77.

Born in Chicago, Ill., he was the son of the late Philip A. and Evelyn Mousel McGinnis. At the age of 13 his father died and later he and his mother settled in Baltimore with his stepfather, Walter Minahan.

In 1951, he married Mary Jane Richards in Baltimore and the couple moved to the Dover area in 1954. Mr. McGinnis went on to be a successful businessman in Dover and in 1962 was elected to the Delaware House of Representatives and to the State Senate in 1964. He returned to the House in 1972 and was re-elected in 1974. He was elected Lt. Governor in 1976 and served until 1980.

Upon leaving the Lt. Governor\'s office, Mr. McGinnis decided not to run as the democratic candidate for Governor so as he could focus his energy toward his entrepreneurial spirit. Of all his many legislative accomplishments, he was most proud of being declared \"Gentleman Of The House\" by the House of Representatives staff in 1974.

A longtime horse owner, he was well recognized within the Standardbred industry. He often raced horses in partnership with the late Russell Kirby under the BDMCK Stable, campaigning the notable Spun Out with trainer Dan Myer.

Mr. McGinnis was also the executive director of Cloverleaf SOA until 1973. During those years it encompassed territory which included the Delaware Valley tracks along with Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Mary Jane; sons, Philip (Pamela) and James; daughter, Donna (Daniel) McKamy; and five grandchildren, Kelly Bynum, Meredith, Sarah, Mary Katherine \"Kate\" and Andrew \"AJ\" McKamy.

Friends are invited to a Mass of Christian Burial on Friday, Feb. 27, at 10 a.m. in Holy Cross Catholic Church, 631 S. State St., Dover, DE. Entombment in Holy Cross Mausoleum will be private.

Memorial contributions may be sent to Delaware Hospice, 911 S. DuPont Hwy., Dover, Del. 19901 or to Holy Cross Church, 631 S. State St., Dover, Del. 19901.

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