April 14, 1936 – June 13, 2020
George Patrick McDonald was born in Halifax, cherished son of Thomas McDonald and Emeline Samson. Pat received his B.Arts from Saint Mary’s University and Law Degree and M.Ed. from Dalhousie University. He played basketball for SMU and football for Dal. Pat spent most of his career as a teacher, principal, basketball and football coach in Grande Prairie and Rocky Mountain House.
Pat and Joan moved their three young children to Grande Prairie in 1968 where Pat began his teaching and coaching career at St. Joseph Catholic High School. Pat loved history, current events, music, and sports and quickly became involved with coaching and leading folk masses with his voice and acoustic guitar. Pat was committed to all that he undertook and as a coach he was well known in the Peace Country, Alberta, and nationally for his skill in developing championship basketball teams, which he did by developing individuals first. Pat also took on an Alberta-China project to coach a junior men’s national level basketball team in Harbin, China, in 1986. Pat was awarded an Alberta Sportsman of the Year Award, and was inducted into the Alberta Schools Athletic Association Hall of Fame. As a teacher and educational leader, Pat will always be remembered by students and staff alike for his compassion, curiosity, faith, and ability to make everyone feel special. He made a difference in all of the lives he touched.
After retiring from teaching in Rocky Mountain House, Pat pursued his love of history and storytelling, contributing numerous articles to local Alberta newspapers and writing the book “Where the River Brought Them.” He believed it was important that everyone should know their heritage and history (particularly Canadian history), and he worked tirelessly to find ways to make history come alive. He was committed to his community and enjoyed delivering presentations to local elementary schools, lobbying for causes through letter-writing, and volunteering with the Friends of the Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site and the David Thompson Bicentennial Project. Pat was awarded a Governor General Sovereign Medal for his volunteer work and commitment to Canadian Heritage and he was officially declared Historian Laureate for Rocky Mountain House.
Pat was predeceased by his loving wife Joan (Chisholm), a teacher and long-time alderwoman in both Grande Prairie and Rocky Mountain House; by his parents (Thomas and Emeline McDonald); and his sisters Carol-Anne McDonald, Marjorie McDonald, and Audrey Tanner. He is survived by his brother Tommy (Margie). His family and faith meant everything to him and he will be lovingly remembered by his children: Carolyn Kent (Alvin) of Edmonton, Bruce (Donna) of Edmonton, and Michael (Claire) of London, UK. He was the proud grandfather to his beautiful grandchildren: Jacqueline, Alexandra, Sarah, Ellen, Rachel, Edan, and Stuart. Pat will also be remembered fondly by the many family members, students, and friends whose lives he touched along the way. All will remember “Mr. Mac” for his smile and parting words, “God love ya.”
A private family service will be held for Patrick McDonald on June 30. Condolences, memories and photos may be shared and viewed on Pat’s obituary at www.glenwoodmemorial.com A memorial bench will be dedicated to Joan and Pat McDonald at a later date in Rocky Mountain House.
If family and friends so desire, memorial tributes may be made to the Hope Mission or your local food bank.