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  • "We'll miss our Uncle Ian. His wonderful understated humour..."
    - Jan MacDermid
  • "Bruce and family, Thinking of you and your family at this..."
  • "Our sincere sympathies to the McDonald family. Julie..."
  • "Bruce and Family, Our Sincerest Sympathy to you and your..."
  • "As one of Anne's oldest friends from West Winnipeg, I would..."
    - Mary Ann Waldmann
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Former dean and professor in the University of Saskatchewan's College of Medicine, died at home on November 25, following a long struggle with poor health. Predeceased by his parents, George and Alexandrina (Daisy) McDonald and his elder sister Marian, Ian is survived by his wife of sixty years, Margaret Anne (née McGavin), children David MacLaren (Lois), George Bruce (Bernadette), Catherine Anne, Susan Jane, Shelagh Elizabeth (Sandy Ribeiro), and his sister, Katherine Elizabeth. His survivors also include three beloved grandsons, Michael Ian John McDonald, Stephen James McDonald, and Henry (Harry) McDonald Ribeiro, as well as his nieces, Jan MacDermid, Sheila Wolfe, nephew John MacDermid, and grand-nieces and nephews.
Born at home in Regina, on May 20 (his father's birthday), 1928, Ian suffered from asthma, a condition that led many to conclude that he would not survive into adulthood. Through a childhood limited by illness, he developed a love of reading and learning along with a quiet but trenchant sense of humour that remained with him through his life. When his health allowed, he became a skilled tennis player, a sport that, along with curling and golf, he enjoyed into his later years.
A graduate of Regina's Central Collegiate, he completed an AA degree at the then Regina campus of the University of Saskatchewan, moving to the University of Manitoba for medical school – a necessity for Saskatchewan students at the time before the establishment of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan. While completing his degree, Ian met, briefly courted, and became engaged to a young nurse, Anne McGavin, with whom he talked, fought, laughed, and danced through sixty years of marriage .
Following internship and residency in Vancouver, Regina, and Saskatoon, the couple and their two small boys moved to Denver, Colorado, where he held the position of Chief Resident and a third child – a daughter –joined the family. In 1958, Ian accepted the invitation of Dr. G. "Griff" McKerracher to join the newly created Department of Psychiatry in the College of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan. In time, he would succeed McKerracher as Department Head and eventually served two terms as Dean of the College, before retiring into a psychiatric consultancy with RUH and the Saskatoon Health Region. He continued the work that he loved until just before his eighty-first birthday. His commitment to the College of Medicine reflected his love for and abiding attachment to the people and province of Saskatchewan. Although offered opportunities elsewhere, he remained fiercely loyal to his home province.
McDonald leaves a rich legacy reflecting his lifelong dedication to improving the lot of the mentally ill in Canada. He worked with his mentor McKerracher on the internationally recognized "Saskatchewan Plan," which sought to deinstitutionalize psychiatric patients from large hospitals to local clinical communities as a more effective mode of treatment. A respected expert in forensic psychiatry, he offered testimony in the trial of E.G. Klippert, which helped lead to the decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada and helped Peter McKinnon establish the ongoing program "Psychiatry and the Law" in the College of Law. A member of numerous provincial and federal commissions on mental health issues, he chaired the committee that produced the landmark "Report on the Forgotten Constituents" for Saskatchewan's Mental Health Association. Long after the report's appearance someone told him that he could learn a lot about mental health care in Canada by reading the "McDonald Report": with characteristic restraint, he let this advice pass unremarked. His contributions to his community and discipline earned him recognition from the Canadian Mental Health Association, and he received the one-time 50th Anniversary Golden Award from the Canadian Psychiatric Association, which noted his "lifelong dedication to biopsychosocial psychiatric care, rural community services, and his leadership in reforming mental health systems in Saskatchewan."
When not working, Ian was known for his love of good jazz, sports, reading, food, and travel-including the family's memorable sabbatical year in Scotland. He took special pleasure in the company of family and friends. He and Anne entertained their friends at frequent gatherings through the decades, first on Weir Crescent and then for forty years on University Drive. Their annual Boxing Day parties featured a potent blend of seasonal punch with the stylings of Count Basie, Frank Sinatra, and Ella Fitzgerald . Himself the son of a prominent Regina educator, Ian shared with Anne a deep respect for learning of all kinds, in which he encouraged his children .
Ian died shortly after his sixtieth wedding anniversary, and would have been delighted by the Grey Cup victory of his team, the Saskatchewan Roughriders . As a young husband and father, Ian was a devotee of the Riders, listening to game broadcasts in Vancouver while burping his first son and muttering, "That'll show those Eastern sons of bitches ."
The family would like to express their profound gratitude for the kind support given Ian and Anne through their illnesses, most notably Dr. Susan Hayton, who showed sensitivity and commitment to Ian's wishes surrounding his death; Dr. Tom Wilson, who provided years of care for Ian's often complicated health; as well as Fe Enriquez, Kara Ratke, and Andrew Macdonald, who have become members of the family. They also thank Ian's many friends and colleagues whose friendship and companionship endured through years of health and decline. The support of CPAS and DCF – thanks especially to Julie Cortens – enabled the family to honour Ian's wish to die at home, as did the kind care given by the men and women who came into Ian and Anne's home in recent years .
In lieu of flowers, contributions to the Canadian Mental Health Association or the College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, would be greatly appreciated. The Funeral Service will be held on Saturday, November 30, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. at Grace Westminster United Church (505 10th Street East) with a reception to follow at the University of Saskatchewan Faculty Club (101 Administration Pl. Ph 306-966-7774) Condolences may be sent to [email protected] Arrangements have been entrusted to SASKATOON FUNERAL HOME (306-244-5577).

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Saskatoon Funeral Home
338 4th Avenue North
Saskatoon, SK S7K 2L7
(306) 244-5577
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Published in The Saskatoon StarPhoenix from Nov. 28 to Nov. 30, 2013
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