Irene MacDonald

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Maitland, Fla. - Irene (Thorp) MacDonald, 93, of Maitland, died at the home of her daughter on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013.

Irene was born June 2, 1919, in Dorchester, Mass., the daughter of Elizabeth Ann and John William Thorp. After graduating from Weymouth High School in Weymouth, Mass. in 1937, she attended the New England School of Law (Portia Law School). She graduated in 1941 with high honors and an L.L.B. degree, and became a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association.

She joined the Red Cross in 1943, volunteered for foreign service and was sent to the South Pacific in 1944 as a recreational worker for service clubs/canteens in New Caledonia, the Russell Islands and Guadalcanal. She chronicled her experiences in a series of "Life in the South Pacific" columns for the Patriot Quincy Ledger newspaper.

She married Elmer George MacDonald, they settled in Norwell, Mass., opened MacDonald Motor Services, and built and managed "The Glen", a park for mobile homes from 1952 to 1982. In 1962, the family moved to Old Lyme, where Irene went to work for the State of Connecticut. After retiring from the State Welfare Department, she obtained her real estate broker's license and ran her own business, Lyme Realty Company.

Six years after Elmer's 1981 death, she married Leland H. Reynolds, a successful automobile dealer and landowner. She was active in the Lyme Garden Club, the Lyme Book Club, and a local bridge group, was a literacy volunteer, and prepared tax returns for the elderly on a volunteer basis.

Irene was known throughout her life for her generosity to others, her buoyant spirit, her ready laugh, her curiosity and her readiness to try something new. She was an avid reader, an oil painter, a writer, a poet, and loved to dance.

She was preceded in death by her brother, Arthur Thorp; and her late husband, Leland Reynolds.

She is survived by her children, James Marc MacDonald and wife, Jean, of Alameda, Calif., Marsha MacDonald of Maitland, Fla., John MacDonald and wife, Karen, of Amherst, N.H., and Matthew MacDonald and wife, Sandra, of Cape Coral, Fla.; seven beloved grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held in Maitland, Fla. Burial in Duck River Cemetery and a Celebration of Life will be held in Old Lyme at a later date.

Memorial donations may be made to the Lymes Senior Center, 26 Town Woods Road, P.O. Box 597, Old Lyme, CT 06371.
Published in The Day on Feb. 24, 2013
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