James S. McKinnon, 47, formerly of Appleton, Wis., residing in Birmingham, Ala., passed away after bravely and unselfishly battling a prolonged illness. Uncle Big Jim, as his nieces and nephews affectionately knew him, was a kind, gentle soul who complained little and entertained a lot. Although his life was short, his accomplishments were many. Though he constantly struggled with the pain brought on by the many side effects of his illness, his concerns in life were always toward others and not himself. Big Jim was born on Feb. 12, 1960, in Appleton, Wis. He grew up in Appleton and graduated from Xavier High School in 1978. He attended Milton College before completing his degree at University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. From there, he completed a law degree from Miles School of Law. Over the next 10 years, he held various jobs related to the field of law, before he answered a call to serve God, first with the Franciscans and then more recently with the Green Bay Diocese. In August of 2006 he returned to his beloved Birmingham, Ala., but due to the progression of his illness, he could no longer practice the rigors of law. True to his unselfish nature, he received his teaching certificate in August of 2007, in special education, and was four days into his new career when the pain of his brain tumor and its associated side effects took his life. He could fight the good fight no more. He is survived by his loving parents, Dr. Donald and Kathleen McKinnon, Singer Island, Fla.; his oldest brother, Michael, his wife, Dawn and niece, Holli, White Bear Lake, Minn.; his brother, Daniel, his wife, Sandee and their three children, Tyler, Kaitlyn and Quinn, Winneconne, Wis.; and his youngest brother, John of Appleton, Wis. He will be deeply missed by his many family and friends, including Michael Heaven and Jimmy Boyd, who have been a source of strength for the family.A memorial fund has been set up, in Jim's name, to help with the reconstruction of the Jefferson Alcoholic Foundation Building at 2012 14th Ave. S. Birmingham, AL 35205. This is where Jim volunteered.Information obtained from the Green Bay Gazette online on 8/24/2007.