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Mr. & Mrs. William & Ann Macdonald

July 8, 2020

Obituary

William Macdonald
December 28, 1924 – July 8, 2020


William (Bill) Macdonald passed away peacefully on July 8, hours before
his beloved wife Ann (Purcell) Macdonald. Bill and Ann spent an idyllic
last day together holding hands, surrounded by their loving daughters,
sons-in-law and grandchildren. Theirs was a love story for the ages;
they couldn’t bear to spend a single night apart after 66 years of
marriage.

Family was always the most important priority to Bill, despite his
lengthy list of professional and civic accomplishments.
Bill was happiest when surrounded by “just our family”. He is survived
by his six adoring daughters and 5 sons-in-law: Maryann Macdonald of
Randolph, Jane and Joe Poirier of Gloucester, Ellen Macdonald and Rich
Gagnon of Pelham NY, Nancy and Steve McDonald of Scituate, Kate and
Doug Chapman of Quincy, Betsy and Bill Chapman of Wenham; 10
grandchildren who affectionately nicknamed him “Bull”: Grace and
Liam Macdonald-Gagnon, Katy, Will, Robbie and Charlie McDonald,
Emily and Lily Chapman, Jack and Eddie Chapman; his step-
granddaughter Lani (Justin) Heath and their children Maya and Lelia. He
was a loving uncle to many nieces and nephews and their families.
Bill was born in Milton, MA on December 28, 1924. He was the
youngest son of Jerome and Grace and the brother of Jerome Jr and
Thomas (Tar) Macdonald.

Bill was a lifelong, proud resident of Quincy MA, growing up in
Merrymount, raising his family in Wollaston and moving for many
happy years to the Highlands at Faxon Woods apartment community in
South Quincy. He and Ann spent one year at Grove Manor Estates in
Braintree. Bill fully enjoyed everyplace he lived, embraced meeting
new people from all backgrounds and listened attentively to their life
stories. Bill attended Thayer Academy and College of the Holy Cross. After
graduating college, he served in the Navy in WWII as a Communications
Officer on the USS Jaccard in the Pacific Ocean visiting the Philippines,
Okinawa, Japan and China. From 1943 until his Honorable Discharge in
1959, he served with the Naval Reserve. He attended Boston University
Law School after returning from his WWII active duty service.

His professional career as an attorney spanned 41 years, first practicing
law for 6 years in Quincy with Judge James Mulhall, then joining New
England Electric System, now National Grid, in Boston and Westborough
where he served as General Property Counsel managing a large
department of lawyers, title examiners and administrative staff.
Bill was especially proud of once receiving employee of the year
recognition and considered his work colleagues lifelong friends and
extended family members.

Bill’s civic and philanthropic activities are too numerous to list. He and
Ann were active in local government and church associations
throughout their lives such as a 35-year board position with Adams
Temple and School Fund. Bill once proudly hosted a young John F
Kennedy and his sisters during a congressional campaign while
president of the Holy Name Society of Our Lady of Good Counsel
Church.

His lasting legacy is as a pioneer in community-based services,
residences and education for individuals with disabilities. When eldest
daughter Maryann was diagnosed with autism as a toddler, Bill and Ann
refused to institutionalize her as was the norm in the 1950s and sixties.
Bill considered Maryann his “perfect daughter” and was a devoted,
loving and consistent presence in her life.

This decision led to active collaboration with like-minded families to
found schools, agencies and community-based residences in the early
years, then serving as pro bono attorney and board member for the
remainder of his long life. Examples of his many board positions and
affiliations include the League School of Boston, Amego School,
Association for Mentally Ill Children, Beechwood Community Life
Center, South Shore Mental Health, Work Inc and Human Services
Options.

Bill was an accomplished sailor on high school and college teams. With
his brothers Jerome and Tar, he sailed competitively in Indian Class
boats up and down the east coast and won many prizes.

Bill will be remembered as a dedicated and attentive husband, father
grandfather and uncle. He loved nothing more than spending time with
Ann, his “girls”, their husbands, children and dogs and was proud of all
their achievements. Many extended family members, neighbors and
acquaintances of all backgrounds consider him the best man they ever
met, a surrogate father, brother or close friend. He was a gentle giant
and a truly humble man. At a recent family get-together, he told his
family “I’ve had a perfect life”.

If you wish to honor Bill, please make a gift in his memory to Work Inc
at workinc.org, wear a mask to protect vulnerable people from COVID-
19 and vote Democrat.

There will be a private funeral service and burial. A celebration of life
will be held at a later date.

 

Ann Macdonald
August 21, 1930 – July 8, 2020


Ann Cecile (Purcell) Macdonald passed away peacefully on July 8, hours
after her beloved husband William (Bill) Macdonald. On Ann’s final day,
she held Bill’s hand and entertained her assembled daughters, sons-in-
law and grandchildren with songs, stories and anecdotes saying happily

“I’m all partied out but this is the best party I ever had!”. Theirs was a
love story for the ages; she and Bill couldn’t bear to spend a single night
apart after 66 years of marriage.

Ann was the matriarch of a large circle of daughters, grandchildren,
sons-in-law, extended family, friends and colleagues. A social butterfly,
filled with knowledge and wisdom, Ann was the person everyone
sought out for everything, from life advice to the latest celebrity gossip.
She is survived by her 6 daughters and 5 sons-in-law: Maryann
Macdonald of Randolph, Jane and Joe Poirier of Gloucester, Ellen
Macdonald and Rich Gagnon of Pelham NY, Nancy and Steve McDonald
of Scituate, Kate and Doug Chapman of Quincy, Betsy and Bill Chapman
of Wenham; 10 grandchildren who affectionately nicknamed her
“Nannie”: Grace and Liam Macdonald-Gagnon, Katy, Will, Robbie and
Charlie McDonald, Emily and Lily Chapman, Jack and Eddie Chapman;
her step-granddaughter Lani (Justin) Heath and their children Maya and
Lelia. Ann adored her grandchildren and her granddogs, currently
Clancy, Judy, Duncan, Kerbey, Vixen and Quincy. She was a loving aunt
to many nieces, nephews and their families.

Ann was born in Boston, MA on August 21, 1930. She was the younger
daughter of Timothy (TJ) and Catherine Purcell. Ann was a dedicated
caretaker to her parents throughout their lives and adored her older
sister Kay (Roger Greeley), who predeceased her by several months.

During Ann’s early childhood she lived in the Neponset area of
Dorchester where she made lifelong friendships. At age 14, her family
moved to the Merrymount neighborhood of Quincy. Ten years later the
“tall man across the street who always wears a hat” became her
husband.

Ann attended Mount St Joseph Academy and Regis College. She
remained active throughout her life with the Regis College Alumni
Association and the South Shore Regis Club, serving as class reporter
and a member of the alumni board. Later she attended the BC School of
Social Work.

Ann started her career as a social worker at Catholic Charities working
with at-risk children and families. After marrying Bill in 1954, she stayed
home to raise her growing family and care for relatives including her
parents as well as Bill’s mother and aunts.

In 1956, her first daughter Maryann was born in an era when it was
normal practice to institutionalize children with intellectual disabilities.
Instead, Ann and Bill dedicated their lives to ensuring educational and
community-based services for individuals living with disabilities. Ann
was determined, against many odds, to ensure that Maryann
experience life integrated in society and family activities.

After her youngest child Betsy started school, Ann began her second
career and lifelong passion of educating children with autism. She
worked for 13 years in a classroom setting in Braintree, retired, then
resumed working for 3 more years in language-based special needs
education in Milton.

After retiring the second and final time, Ann and Bill enjoyed traveling,
including regional trips to Maine and Cape Cod as well as to San
Francisco, France, London and Ireland.

Ann worked in tandem with Bill on behalf of numerous civic,
educational and philanthropic activities, while utilizing her background
in social work and education for children with special needs.
She served as a longtime board member for many organizations
including the Mollie Hirshberg Fund Committee, the Quincy School
Department’s LINC before and after-school programs, the special needs
committee of the Dept of Mental Health and the Human Rights
Committees for both Human Services Options and Work Inc. She also
did extensive fundraising for Work Inc.

Ann’s naturally extroverted personality built strong and lasting
friendships at every stage of her life. Earlier, she spent time on
Wollaston Beach with the neighborhood “beach ladies” and took up
tennis. Her house was often filled with her children’s friends and
homesick college roommates were always welcome to spend holidays,
eat a homemade meal and do loads of laundry. Some people moved in
and stayed for months.

She never stopped moving at a fast pace (much to the chagrin of more
than one physical therapist late in life) to accomplish more, to do more,
to talk with more people and to experience life to the fullest. Ann loved
to talk with anyone and everyone and she loved hearing their life
stories. She was known for sharing long, enthusiastic updates with her
daughters about people they had never met.

At the end of the day, she loved cooking a favorite meal then sitting in
adjoining chairs to eat ice cream, watch a Red Sox game, read a long
book or a People magazine and spend a perfect evening with her
beloved Bill.

If you wish to honor Ann, please make a gift in her memory to Work Inc
at workinc.org, wear a mask to protect vulnerable people from COVID-19
and thoroughly enjoy your next ice cream cone or candy bar without
regret.

There will be a private funeral service and burial. A celebration of life
will be held at a later date.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Mr. & Mrs. William & Ann Macdonald, please visit our floral store.


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