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Wife, mother, daughter, gardener and long-time community volunteer Shirley Cottier MacDonald passed away at home December 16, 2013 of natural causes. She was 83. Mrs. MacDonald is survived by her son John and daughter-in-law Kathryn MacDonald of Santa Rosa; daughters Sally MacDonald of Sunnyvale and Anne MacDonald and son-in-law David Ford of Lake Oswego, Oregon; and grandchildren Sarah and Reid MacDonald and Willa Ford. Born in Great Falls Montana, she moved as a teen with her parents G.G. "Dode" and Maurine L.P. Cottier to Yakima and then Seattle, Washington, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Washington. While at college, she was a member of Gamma Phi Beta sorority, was elected sweetheart of Sigma Chi, and was inducted into the scholastic honorary Phi Beta Kappa. She married Ian MacDonald in 1956. She and Ian were married 47 years before Ian's death in 2003. When they moved their young family to Santa Rosa in 1967, she became an active community volunteer, first through the Santa Rosa Symphony League and, later, through Assistance League of Sonoma County. Beginning in 1972, she coordinated volunteers in the Assistance League's Sights and Sounds program, providing free vision and hearing screening for pre-school children across the county. Upon the 25th anniversary of the program, she was recognized for her efforts as a Merit Award Recipient by the City of Santa Rosa, and by Prevent Blindness of Northern California. This program was also awarded the 2002 City of Santa Rosa Merit Award for Youth Services. Shirley was an avid reader, accomplished gardener, cat lover and devoted 49er fan. She was a locavore before the term was coined, maintaining an extensive vegetable garden for many years, knowing most every stand in the Sonoma County Farm Trails program, and, later, the Santa Rosa Farmers Market. Building on a depression-era tradition brought with her from Montana, family and out-of-town guests were frequently treated to her picnics in the North Bay countryside. These picnics nearly always consisted of whatever fruit was available at a farm stand along the way, cold cuts and cheeses from Traverso's, a loaf of sourdough bread, and beverages from the closest winery. The family wishes to thank her wonderful caregivers, Lia and Lala, who enabled her to remain in her house until her death. No memorial service will be held. If desired, contributions may be made to .
Published Online in the Press Democrat from Jan. 25 to Jan. 27, 2014
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