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Former Idlewild president wanted to preserve local history

| Thursday, Sept. 27, 2001

Clinton K. 'Jack' Macdonald of Ligonier, whose family ran Idlewild Park near Ligonier for 51 years, died Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2001, at his home.

Macdonald, 90, was involved in the amusement park business all of his life, his daughter, Sandra Lynn Venning of Menlo Park, Calif., said.

'He was devoted to the park business,' Venning said.

He remained in the business until he sold Idlewild Park, Story Book Forest and Timberlink Golf Course to Kennywoood Park in January 1983.

Mr. Macdonald was born April 25, 1911, in Akron, Ohio. He began working at Idlewild Park in 1931. His father, C.C. Macdonald, leased the park from the Ligonier Valley Railroad. Macdonald bought an interest in the park from the Mellon family 20 years later.

Macdonald became president of Idlewild Management Co. in 1957, while his brother, Richard Z. Macdonald, was president of Story Book Forest. His son, the late Charles S. Macdonald, served as Idlewild Park's vice president.

Venning recalls her father was active in Ligonier Valley civic affairs.

He wanted to preserve Ligonier's history, so he became one of the founders of the Fort Ligonier Memorial Foundation and its first president in 1949. Venning said that group started restoration efforts at Fort Ligonier.

He was the first president of the Ligonier Chamber of Commerce in 1946. The Ligonier Valley Chamber of Commerce honored him in the late 1960s with its General Arthur St. Clair Medal. At that time, he joined Richard King Mellon as two of the three recipients of the medal.

'He and Mr. (Richard King) Mellon were pretty good friends,' Venning said.

His pride in his Scottish heritage was evident when he founded the Clan Donald Highland Games 43 years ago. The Highland Games are held annually at Idlewild Park. He was a trustee of the Clan Donald Educational and Trust Society.

He was a former director of the Valley School of Ligonier and a Latrobe Area Hospital director.

Recently, Macdonald and his wife, Madelyn, spent their winters in Hawaii and returned to Ligonier in the spring, Venning said.

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