Obituary of Donald Macdonald
THE HONOURABLE DONALD STOVEL MACDONALD, P.C., C.C., LL.D.
Donald has died. Ever unassuming, he died with the least of fuss, and with characteristic dignity. Donald leaves his adoring wife Adrian. He was predeceased by his first wife Ruth Hutchison Macdonald who died in 1987. He will be greatly missed by his four daughters, Leigh with son Angus, Nikki with Ned Jackson and daughters Sarah and Meghan, Althea with children Lucas, Cecil and Sydney and Sonja with Paul Shaker and son Salim (Sam), his Lang stepchildren Maria (predeceased), Timothy, Gregory (Zuzana Glatzova), Andrew (Jennifer Fritz), Elisabeth (Paul Amirault), Amanda (Geoff Beattie) and Adrian (Ashley Taylor), and with their children, will miss his gentle humour and wry take on the world. He was predeceased by his sister Janet Macdonald Fox and her husband Edmund Fox.
Donald and Ruth shared a life filled with curiosity, travel and learning. Together they raised a family of four girls, began a political career, and travelled the world. He had a generous heart, and kind spirit. This was evident in his love for Adrian, his wife for 30 years, who lit up his life and face daily with her mere presence. Their romance – which never faded – set a high bar for all who know them.
He will be remembered for his quick wit and fine sense of humour. An impeccable dresser – with the finest collection of silk bow ties – he could also be found in khakis and rubber boots planting hundreds of trees every spring. Dogs and children loved him, and this elegant man who consorted with presidents and prime ministers was never happier than in his reading chair with Lester B. Cat upon his knee.
He found his greatest joy in serving his country. First elected to the House of Commons in 1962 as the Member of Parliament for Rosedale, he served for 16 years through the Liberal governments of both Prime Ministers Lester B. Pearson and Pierre Trudeau. He held many portfolios: Government House Leader, Minister of Defence, Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources, and Minister of Finance.
Upon leaving politics in 1978, he returned to McCarthy and McCarthy but quickly became subsumed in public life again. As he noted, “when your Prime Minister asks, you serve your country.” In 1982, he accepted Prime Minister Trudeau’s request to chair the Royal Commission on Economic Union and the Development Prospects, known as the Macdonald Commission. The Commission was responsible for innovative policy recommendations including the early framework that led to the NAFTA agreement. A true statesman, he was subsequently appointed by the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney to serve as Canada’s High Commissioner to Great Britain and Northern Ireland where he played a critical role in serving Canada’s interests during the creation of the key aspects of the European Union.
Donald was a gentle man, who inherited from his father Donald Angus Macdonald, a love of jazz and a commitment to public service. He would speak proudly of his father’s legacy as a World War One veteran and as Canada’s last Dominion Forester. His mother, Majorie Isabel Stovel, introduced him to books during summers spent at her father’s home who, as owner of the Stovel Publishing House in Winnipeg, had an extraordinary library. His love of reading led to academic success, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from Trinity College, University of Toronto, Bachelor of Laws from Osgoode Law School, Master of Laws from Harvard University, and a Diploma in International Relations from Cambridge University.
He received many honours over his years of public service including his appointment as a Companion of the Order of Canada, and honorary degrees from the Colorado School of Mines and Engineering, Carleton University, University of New Brunswick, the University of Toronto, and Trinity College, Doctor of Sacred Letters.
He gave joy to his family and friends, like the thousands of trees he planted in his lifetime: an investment of hope and optimism that we will remember as the essence of Donald. And when we do, though our hearts ache, we smile. A funeral service will be held in OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL HELP CHURCH, 78 Clifton Road, Toronto, at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, October 19, 2018.
Our most sincere sympathies to the family and friends of Donald
Macdonald 1932 2018..