Was born on June 2, 1924, in Oakland, CA to Elizabeth Sides McDonald and John E. McDonald Sr. He passed away peacefully very early on Monday, January 6, 2014, at Memorial Hospital, Santa Rosa, after being surrounded by his loving daughters all day on Sunday. John was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Joan Patterson McDonald and younger brother, Richard Thomas McDonald. John is survived by their four daughters Laurie Rogers of Sacramento, Leslie and husband Blane Henley of Santa Rosa, Janet and husband Douglas Clendenning of Atherton, and Christine and husband Graeme Robertson of Carmel. In addition, he is survived by ten wonderful grandchildren: Christopher (Rebecca), Matthew and Taryn Rogers, Jeffrey (Lindsay) and John (Michelle) Ingram and Kathryn (Gordon) Fowler, Kelly and Patrick Clendenning, and Andrew and Austin Robertson; and his five adored great-grandchildren, Beverly, Bailey, Payton, Natalie and Logan. John graduated from Santa Rosa High School in 1942. He attended Santa Rosa Junior College during which time he joined the US Naval Reserves. In 1943-1944 he proceeded to UC Berkeley where he joined the Naval V-12 Officer Training Corps and then the University of Notre Dame where he attended Midshipman School and was commissioned an Ensign in the US Navy. He served in the Pacific Theater as a Communications Officer on LST 1045. In 1946, John resumed his studies at UC Berkeley, graduating in 1947, with a degree in Political Science. He attended Hastings School of Law and received his Jurisprudence Doctorate in 1951. He was admitted to the California State and Federal Bars in 1952. He was a founding partner in the law firm of Anderson, McDonald, Belden and Kelly. He served as President of the Sonoma County Bar Association (1959). John had many passions in life aside from his family and the law, including music, politics, education and community service. He loved to play piano, with or without sheet music, and would often be heard tickling the ivories, playing Dark Town Strutters Ball, Carolina In The Morning and It Had To Be You - to name just a few. He learned the banjo and ukulele from his father-in-law, Gilbert "Pat" Patterson, not wanting to be left out of the music fun during summers at Clear Lake. "Jam sessions" were a frequent weekend happening at the McDonald's - piano, "gut bucket" and vocals! His interest in politics was long-standing, having served the Sonoma County Republican Central Committee and the campaigns of "Cap" Weinberger for Attorney General, Richard Nixon for President and Don Clausen's Congressional campaign. His community service involvements included the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club and the Miss Sonoma County Pageant. John served on the Board of Directors of the Exchange Bank, Memorial Hospital, the North Bay Transit Authority and Empire College & Law School, where he was also a founding member. John and Joan's girls and their families have wonderful memories of summer camping trips to Trinity Alps & Standish Hickey State Park, backpacking in Yosemite, summers at Lily Cove, Clear Lake and ski trips to Lake Tahoe. He had a wonderful tradition once his daughters received their permits to drive. He would plan a weekend with each one in southern California, renting a car of their choice, for practice. It was special time together and a right of passage. His family will miss him greatly. As you make your final journey Dad, we're singing together with you one last time, "Down by the meadow in an itty bitty pool, swam three little fishies and a Momma fishy too. Swim said the Momma fishy, swim if you can, and they swam and they swam all over the dam!" We love you Dad. Our family will celebrate Dad's life in a private remembrance. We encourage all Dad's friends to celebrate his life in a way that is fitting for each of you. Thank you for all your love and support. His Girls. Daniels Chapel of the Roses 707-525-3730
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Daniels Chapel of the Roses
1225 Sonoma Avenue Santa Rosa, CA 95402
Published Online in the Press Democrat from Jan. 12 to Jan. 13, 2014