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Gregory MacDonald


1941 - 2015 Obituary Condolences
Gregory MacDonald Obituary
GREGORY MACDONALD 1941-2015 I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life, To the gull's way and the whale's way Where the wind's like a whetted knife, And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow rover, And a quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over. John Masefield Long-time Riverside resident Gregory MacDonald died at home on January 28, 2015, at the age of 73. He regaled family and friends with stories and laughter for a year and a half until cancer took his life. An adventurer from an early age, Greg took a summer vacation to sail through tropical storms aboard an aging schooner from Tahiti to Hawaii. An avid motorcyclist, he rode on and off road through the American West, Alaska, Canada, Baja California and the British Isles. He rode alone to Cabo San Lucas the year before the highway was built. He often sailed with his family to Catalina Island and other Southern California destinations. Greg was born in Portland, Oregon. He attended Riverside schools and graduated from Riverside Poly High School in 1960. He attended Oregon State University for two years, then transferred to Cal Western in San Diego, where he met Virginia Frazier ("Ginny"), his wife of 48 years. After their marriage they settled in Riverside, where Greg began his career in library administration with the Riverside City and County Public Library. He oversaw the construction of many permanent libraries around the county that stand as a testament to his dedication. Greg's and Ginny's son Matthew was born in 1972 and was the joy of their lives for 36 years. Matthew accompanied Greg on many of his adventures, and no father-son bond was ever closer or more loving. Matthew passed away in 2009. After retirement in 1997, Greg added another avocation to complement his life of travel and adventure - that of researcher and writer. He researched (often from the seat of a motorcycle) and wrote books on the history and geography of Baja California, lesser-known characters of the early American West, and the story of an 82-year-old dentist who sailed a 24-foot dory from Nova Scotia back to his home in Oceanside. He wrote dozens of articles for boating periodicals about California maritime subjects. He maintained an extensive nautical library. He took an interest in the author, John Steinbeck, wrote about Steinbeck's voyage to the Sea of Cortez, and made his own dog-and-camper trip. The latter is the subject of his last book, finished just weeks ago. He and Ginny traveled extensively, on land and sea, before and after they retired. Greg made fast friends wherever he went. He remained close to friends from his school days in Riverside and chaired his 50th Poly class reunion committee. He was a long-time member of the Newport Harbor Yacht Club, where he spent boyhood summers and where he later spent weeks organizing the archives. He and Ginny moved to Fallbrook for about 10 years after retirement. There he volunteered at the library and organized a classic motorcycle show. His cycling buddies, known as Euro Moto, remain among his closest friends. After writing about the voyage of the dentist, he gathered a group, the "RAGMEG crew," that still maintains contact. Greg was predeceased by his brother Ramsay ("Bud"). He is survived by his wife, Ginny; his sister Marion McCarty (Robert) of Riverside; his brother Malcolm (Ann); Bud's widow Bette; nieces and nephews Juli Stead, John MacDonald, Chris MacDonald, Rob McCarty and Katy Krieger; and a host of admiring family members and friends. Services will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the RCCD Foundation, 4800 Magnolia Avenue, Riverside, CA 92506, for the Matthew MacDonald Endowed Scholarship Fund, or to a .


Published in Press-Enterprise from Jan. 30 to Feb. 1, 2015
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