Tuesday, December 5, 2023
10:00 AM EST
Holy Spirit Catholic Church
2230 Lake Michigan Drive NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Mass of Christian Burial
Tuesday, December 5, 2023
11:00 AM EST
Holy Spirit Catholic Church
2230 Lake Michigan Drive NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Hospice of Michigan
989 Spaulding Ave SE
Ada, MI 49301
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
A true gentleman and a friend to all – that was Donald MacDonald in a nutshell. He was loving, kind, respectful and devoted. He loved life and longed to share his love of life with others. A cherished son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather and friend, he will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered.
On November 2, 1935, in Jersey City, NJ, Donald and Cora Margaret (Dubois) MacDonald welcomed their son, Donald into their family. He joined his four year old sister, Barbara Ann.
In 1937, when Don was only two years old, his father contracted pneumonia and passed away. Don and his sister were raised by their mother and maternal grandparents. His mother worked as a bookkeeper at Holley Oldsmobile to support the family. Since the very early years Barbara and Don shared a close bond.
Though Don grew up without his father, he still enjoyed a typical childhood due to the love of his family. To help fill the role of a fatherly figure in Don's earlier years he would spend summers at his uncle’s farm. When not at the farm, Don enjoyed playing stickball in the streets with neighborhood friends. Over the years he developed a strong bond with a group of friends that lasted long into adulthood, with some serving as groomsmen at his wedding and even Godparents to some of his children.
When Don was in the 8th grade, a weekend gathering of friends would have a huge impact on the rest of his life. On this particular weekend, the friends got together to see a movie. Connie, one of the girls in the group, caught his eye. The friends quietly arranged for a different boy to sit next to Connie, but Don sat in the seat instead. The rest, as they say, is history. They began “going steady” shortly after that.
After graduating from Lincoln High School in 1954, Don attended St Peter's College. While attending college, Don and Connie were happily married on Easter Sunday, April 21, 1957 at St Aloysius Catholic Church and honeymooned in New York City. A year later, in 1958, Don graduated from St. Peter's College with a degree in accounting and finance.
While in college Don joined the ROTC program and completed his basic training in Fort Benning, Texas, starting his career in the military with the United States Army. In June of 1958 he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. After a few short years his military career unfortunately ended due to a medical condition and was honorably discharged.
After leaving the military, Don and Connie moved back to Jersey City and Don worked for the pharmaceutical company Squibb (now Bristol Myers Squibb) in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
In early Spring of 1959, about a month before their first son Donald was born, Connie’s mother passed away from heart failure, so the young couple moved in with Connie’s dad. Don and his father-in-law shared a close relationship and his father-in-law viewed Don more of a son than a son-in-law.
In 1960 Don and Connie moved to Cranford, NJ, where they welcomed their children Catherine(1961) and Robert(1963). Also in 1963, the family moved to a larger home in Westfield, NJ, where their children James(1965) and Steven(1967) were born. After a few years and with a growing family, Don and Connie moved to a larger home in Westfield.
In 1971 after Don accepted a position in Planning and Purchasing with Amway Corporation of Ada, Michigan, the family relocated to Cascade, Michigan, a small community near Grand Rapids. In 1973, Don and Connie welcomed their 6th child Meghan.
Faith played an important part in Don’s life. Growing up in Jersey City he attended a local Protestant Church. In 1971 Don converted to the Catholic Faith and attended Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church in Westfield, New Jersey with his family.
After moving to Michigan, the family attended St. Robert's of Newminster church in Ada, Michigan. Don was an active member in the church as Eucharistic Minister, Lector, Usher, and helped in many church social events with Connie. He also spent some time teaching Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) classes to young adults. Don and Connie were members of St. Robert parish for 42 years and during these years they met many parishioners who became long time friends.
While living in New Jersey, the family enjoyed memorable vacations down at the Jersey shore and after moving to Michigan, they continued to build memories traveling to the Jersey Shore, spending time visiting Gettysburg as well as many other Civil War locations along the way.
In 1992, Don planned a Moran family reunion at their home in Grand Rapids and their vacation home in Traverse City. He had tee shirts printed for each branch of the family in the colors of Ireland’s flag.
As their children grew, starting new chapters of their own, Don and Connie decided to downsize and moved into a new home in Cascade, and in 2013, Don and Connie relocated to a retirement community on the west side of Grand Rapids, becoming members of Holy Spirit Church.
The family enjoyed trips throughout Michigan, even renting a motorhome traveling to Leelanau, MI, Mackinac Island and many other beautiful and fun locations. Don and Connie also shared a vacation home on Long Lake near Traverse City with long-time neighbor friends. Eventually, they purchased a home on Long Lake where they made countless treasured memories with family and friends.
After 28 years with Amway, Don retired as Vice President of Planning, Purchasing, and Engineering. He remained active in his retirement, volunteering for over 10 years for Hospice of Michigan in Grand Rapids and Traverse City, MI, where he received the Michigan Hospice Volunteer of the Year award in 2011. Don also volunteered for Meals on Wheels for the homebound and served on the Board of Directors for St. John’s Home. Don and Connie shared a love of traveling before and after Don’s retirement. They made several trips to Ireland, the birthplace of Connie's parents, and Scotland, the birthplace of Don's Grandfather. Don also discovered relatives in Scotland and in Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada that he was able to spend time with, learning even more about his heritage.
Don was a supportive, easy-going dad who enjoyed playing games, reading with his kids, and being involved in his children's education, arts and sports. In the early 70's, Don spent many years coaching youth football (Go Wildcats!), supporting volleyball, basketball, track and field, wrestling and music. During cross country season, Don would run almost the same distance as his sons while moving to strategic locations from start to finish to cheer them on. He was also the king of Dad jokes, ready to share at the drop of a hat, especially at the dinner table. Though his corny jokes may have evoked groans from the kids, they secretly looked forward to them.
Don was no stranger in the kitchen and he was known for his breakfasts that included lead-belly pancakes, bacon and sausage or 'imported' Taylors Ham from New Jersey. He also enjoyed cooking and grilling for the family in the summers. On hot summer days, Don could be found drinking a "Special" while grilling his favorite cuts of beef or chicken. A family favorite was his New Jersey style subs with "dump dressing" (and all the jokes that came from the dressing name).
In his spare time, Don enjoyed running, walks, and reading books about the Civil War as well as WWI and WWII. Fictional works by Tom Clancy and Michael Creighton were also some of his favorites. His musical taste was broad, and you could find him listening to anything ranging from classical, symphonic, ambient/ethereal, choral, and easy listening. When dining out, Don and Connie frequented Marco’s restaurant and enjoyed JT’s Pizza while watching sports or entertaining friends.
Don MacDonald was not a man of material goods. He was an honest, truthful, religious and generous man who will be remembered not for what he owned, but for his acts of kindness. He leaves behind a priceless legacy that his loved ones will be proud to carry on.
Donald Peter MacDonald, aged 88 of Grand Rapids, passed away on Tuesday, November 21, 2023, with family by his side. Don was born November 2, 1935 in Jersey City, NJ. He was preceded in death by his parents, Donald MacDonald and Cora Margaret DuBois MacDonald. He was also preceded in death by his wife of nearly 60 years, Cornelia (Connie) and his son, Donald John MacDonald. Also preceded in death are his brother-in-laws, Thomas Moran, Richard Levins, and Al Kiselica.
He is survived by his children; Catherine (Wayne) Harrall, Robert (Genene) MacDonald, James MacDonald, Steven (Deborah) MacDonald, Meghan MacDonald; his 14 grandchildren, Rachael, Corinne, Donald William, Amanda, Charlie, Travis (Shannon), Shaun, Michael, Matthew (Courtney), Elizabeth, Claire (Chelsea), Gabrielle (Dan), Emma (Jaime), Nicholas; and his 6 great grandchildren Marlo, Noah, Rowan, Phelan, Ella, Aalyria.
He is also survived by his sister Barbara Levins-Kiselica; brother in-law, John (Arlene) Moran, sisters-in-law Margaret (Peggy) Moran and Maureen Duggan, and many nieces, nephews and friends.
Don was a loving, dedicated and caring husband, father, grandfather, brother in-law, uncle and friend to all who knew him. He will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered.
Those wishing to honor Don are invited to make a memorial contribution to Faith Hospice-Trillium Woods (Byron Center, MI) or Hospice of Michigan.
To read more of Don’s Life Story, to leave your own memory of him and to sign his guest book, visit www.heritagelifestory.com
The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, December 5, 2023, at 11:00am at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, 2230 Lake Michigan Dr. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504. Friends may visit with family beginning at 10:00am. Interment will be in Holy Cross Cemetery at a later date.