WWII veteran valued heritage, travel
Jim McDonald grew up on a farm in Canada, worked his way through college during the Depression and started a business to support a wife and four children — all in the first few decades of a very long life.
James J. McDonald of Ross died Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013. He was 102.
“My dad was the American dream,” said Belinda Redpath, who lived across the street from her father. “He was proud of his heritage, of his accomplishments as an American and a Canadian.”
Another daughter and next-door neighbor, Claire Henke, laughed with her sister.
“Mostly, he was proud to be a Scotsman,” she said.
The Army chose Mr. McDonald, a strong, stubborn disciplinarian, for officer training when the attacks on Pearl Harbor prompted his enlistment. He served as a captain and domestic munitions instructor during World War II, perfecting on bomb detonators the mechanical skills he used years later as owner of McDonald Heating and Air Conditioning Co. in Ross.
When he sold the company in 1976, he focused his energy on managing rental properties and maintaining active memberships in Clan Donald USA, the Elks Club and the American Legion. An avid hunter and fisherman, he competed in target shooting well into his 80s before his eyesight deteriorated.
“But even that didn't stop him,” Redpath said.
In a century of travel, Mr. McDonald wound his way onto every continent but Antarctica, walking the length of the Great Wall of China at 85.
“If I were a young man, I would emigrate to New Zealand,” he told his daughters, dubbing it the most beautiful place he'd ever seen.
“He was one of the most graceful, kind, honorable men,” said his caregiver and friend, LynnDee Henc. “He always put others before himself.”
“He used to say he had good genes,” Redpath said. “He was vibrant right up to the end.”
In addition to his daughters, Claire and Belinda, Mr. McDonald is survived by a daughter, Kathleen Gerken of Dallas; a sister, Anna Hemsted of Ontario, Canada, and four grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Bernice C. McDonald, and a son, Rory Alan McDonald.
Visitation is from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday in T.B. Devlin Funeral Home, 806 Perry Highway, North Hills, where services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday.
Megan Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5815 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Add Megan Harris to your Google+ circles.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Paying tuition a challenge as costs skyrocket and aid varies
- More companies embrace exchanges to curb health care costs
- Penguins’ Rutherford hopes to raise Cup again
- White House intrusions reveal problems with security, Secret Service
- Penn State rolls past Massachusetts
- Hospitals turning to technology to tear down language barriers with patients
- Starkey: Can Steelers’ Mitchell find Carolina cure?
- Worth of nickel rising in NFL
- Springdale boys collect win in double overtime
- ‘Supernatural’ star’s Malibu retreat charms a buyer
- Brownsville restaurant opens in historic home, pays homage to ‘Gone With the Wind’ plantation