Gary J. MacDonald

11 entries
  • "Just a note to all of the family. You may not have been a..."
    - Linda Kowalkowski
  • "So sorry for your loss. May Almighty God grant you peace as..."
  • "I will miss you Gary.... Condolences to the MacDonald..."
    - Linda Carsten
  • "I LOVE Gary! After selling Commercial Real Estate for 40..."
    - Steve Johnson
  • "My sincere condolences to all of the MacDonald family and..."
    - Margie Wolf
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Gary John MacDonald passed away in his Sparks, Nevada home on February 21, 2018. Gary was born on October 12, 1944 in Omaha, Nebraska to Lucille J. MacDonald (nee Dieter) and John E. MacDonald both of whom predeceased him. He grew up in Bellingham, Washington where he graduated from Bellingham High School in 1962. After marrying his first wife Sue, he graduated from Western Washington University in 1970 and moved to Salem, Oregon with his wife and two young sons to attend Willamette University School of Law. Later he moved to Milwaukie, Oregon where his daughter was born. After he divorced he became a single dad to his three children whom he raised to be successful and accomplished adults. He married for the second time in 1981 to Gloria with whom he shared his love of antique collecting and travel. In 2002, he married Marvalee, raising her daughter as his own and being a father to her sons. They moved to Sparks, Nevada where they built their forever home, allowing them to house their many hobbies and expand their investments in a more favorable climate. He frequently travelled to Portland, Oregon to spend time with family. We all cherished those times together. He hosted many gatherings at his home including numerous Christmas parties for his entire neighborhood. He was a skilled storyteller of the many adventures that could only have happened to him. Once, after buying a condo on Maui, which he generously shared with friends and family for many years, he showed his strength and courage by saving a woman from drowning in a riptide. He grew up hiking and camping and passed on his love of the outdoors to his children taking them on numerous trips into the mountains to find old gold mines and ghost towns. He delighted in his children's weddings, most recently last summer. He loved having dogs all his life and enthusiastically supported his eldest daughter's equestrian pursuits. Gary grew up loving 50s and 60s rock and roll. He was good dancer, boxed and practiced archery in his youth, and enjoyed skiing. Gary was a multifaceted, complex man with many achievements. By vocation, he was an incredibly accomplished entrepreneur. He began investing in real estate when he was 22 and after law school turned to mutual funds. He then purchased Ross Hollywood Funeral Home in Portland, Oregon. In 1983, he turned to international trade with China and by the late 1980s returned to real estate with properties in several states. He was well liked by his peers and well known for his keen negotiating skills. He remained engaged in business until he passed. Besides business, Gary contributed civically through his volunteering in leadership positions on non- profit boards. In Portland, he became the Board President of the Hollywood Senior Center in the 1980s and led their fundraising efforts. From the mid-70s to 80s, he sponsored Portland's Veterans Day Parade. He served for many years as the Board President of the Manufactured Housing Communities of Washington and as Board Member of the Manufactured Home Community Owners of Nevada. He loved collecting antiques of all kinds. He made many trips to antique shows and became a board member of the Cast Iron Seat Collectors Association. His love of antique cars began when he purchased a Ford Model A in 1960 and restored it with his father. He shared this love of antique autos with his sons who helped him restore many vehicles. 2 Gary formed the one of the first model rocket clubs in the nation in 1960 at Bellingham High School. They once sent a four-foot rocket 20,000 feet into the air. He learned to fly a stunt plane when in his 60s and was ready to be the first to sign up for commercial space flights. He loved to travel and took numerous trips throughout the U.S., the U.K., Ireland, Caribbean, Canada, Mexico, China, and Tahiti. Together with Marvalee, he spent many winters at their home in Arizona. He stayed connected with friends everywhere by phone, email, and visits. In the 2000s, he took up genealogy and helped us all learn our family roots. Gary will be deeply missed and forever loved by his beloved wife Marvalee MacDonald,, his sons Robert (Monique) and William (Lori) MacDonald, daughters Kathleen Dernbach (Dave) and Timisha Smith (Christian), his brother Jeffery MacDonald (Andrew), his step-sons Dale Combs (Robyn) and Danny Combs (Veronica), grandchildren Jacob MacDonald (Stefannie), Joel MacDonald, (Allexa), Scotty MacDonald, Dylan Dernbach, Kaylee Combs, Jordan Combs, Peyton Combs, Raelyn Combs, and Kyle Lederman-Grill (Charmaine) as well as all whose lives he touched. There were few obstacles he couldn't overcome. He always looked forward to new things and was always embarking on new adventures. Gary made the world better for so many. He was the rock of his family and friends. He will be missed each and every day. Gary, you left us too soon! Gary's funeral mass will be held at Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Church in Reno at 10:00 AM, Saturday, March 3, 2018. A viewing will be held the night before, from 5:00 to 9:00 PM at the Mountain View Mortuary in Reno. Following the funeral on Saturday, the family will hold a celebration of his life at the Peppermill Resort and Casino in Reno from Noon to 4:00 PM. Following cremation his ashes will be interred with his mother's burial in a private ceremony in Madison, Nebraska. The family will host another celebration of his life in Portland in the spring. Once the details of this event have been finalized, they will be posted at the following website:
Funeral Home
Mountain View Mortuary
425 Stoker Avenue
Reno, NV 89513
(775) 788-2199
Funeral Home Details
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Published in Bellingham Herald on Feb. 28, 2018
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