Rev. G. John MacDonald
September 2, 1928 - July 23, 2020
Memorial service information will be announced soon
After a long and full life of 91 years, Gilbert John MacDonald took his last breath at 4pm July, 23rd, 2020 the result of the gradual debilitation of late stage Alzhimer’s Disease.
Into the silence from whence he came, he returned.
The river behind our house
This is the place where his line became dashes and then dots.
This is the place where my dots became dashes and then a line.
Peter S. MacDonald
He had been cared for in the family home on the banks of the AuSable River in his last years by his faithful wife Rose Marie, his son Chad, daughter Mary and son Peter. Much grace was given him by both Sara, Angie, Chantel, and Dave who cared for him there as well. Thanks also to his final caregivers at Oscoda Fields and Hale Creek Manor in the last several months of his life.
His family mourns the loss of a profound man of love and passion who lived his life fully with open arms and heart. Many have known him and been impacted by his life’s energy. We will all miss him but take comfort in knowing he lived a life which was rich and nuanced. He was a man “acquainted with sorrow” and also one who found in his journey peace and great joy. As “Father John” he spent the majority of his career as the Episcopal Priest at St. John’s in Oscoda/AuSable but was also known as the town's pastor. His ministry and care was open to everyone regardless of faith or lack thereof. “The greatest gift God gives is the gift of friendship” he had said so often. For those who have known his friendship let us join in celebration of this one and only unique life. The family will be hosting a wake and memorial on our property on the rear yard overlooking the river he loved so much. The date and time will be forthcoming as the family finds comfort and the moment becomes apparent. Please see the Buresh Funeral Home website for notification of the date and time of the memorial event:
Gilbert John MacDonald or “Bud”, as his Nova Scotia kin called him, Began his life inthe Atlantic port city of Halifax some 91 years ago. He was the great grandson of a mule skinner immigrant from Scotland. Grandson to the chief of surgery at Halifax Memorial. The son of Fredrick Raymond Kurry MacDonald and Kathleen Neville, one of five brothers: Kirk, Robert, Peter, and Michael. He was ordained into the Anglican Communion at Saint Chads in Saskatchewan where he met his life long partner Rose Marie. In Saskatchewan he coached hockey and was a scout for the Boston Bruins where he discovered Boston’s second greatest defenseman, Dallas Smith, Bobby Orr’s wingman. Throughout his life he enjoyed coaching and playing hockey in Minnesota and Michigan. His real passion was for people. He was always engaged in the lives of many around him. He helped families and relationships in distress. He always insisted there be an extra place setting at our family table for any guest who might arrive, as they often did. As the town pastor he often helped his townsmen find jobs, places to live, (Including his own home and apartments) and the church’s discretionary fund money to help people get through the month. He enjoyed attending AA meetings and had a great love and empathy for those fighting personal demons and addictions of all kinds working to support and help them in their journeys. Often a mediator at bar room disagreements, he found his place with the people of our community never above them… always one of them. He may have lived in a neighborhood called Piety Hill but he saw piety as a vice. His connection to Canada and the Maritime Provinces was with him all his life as he greeted many with a Gaelic sounding “Hark me buoy.” On occasion he was given to flying the Canadian flag above the U.S. flag on his property. Once a neighbor chastised him for doing so to which he responded “You would be right my friend, except this is the Canadian consulate.” In his later years his love of his adopted country prevailed as he became a naturalized citizen while keeping his liberal Canadian temperament.
He is preceded in death by his brothers Kirk and Michael, his infant children Heather and John as well as his son Michael Scott. He is survived by his wife Rose Marie, daughter Mary Kathleen, and his two sons Peter Stafford and Patrick Steven Chad and his companion Amy, his step grandchild Jared Hillman, his grandchildren, Gabriel Michael, Hannah Marie, Jillian Rose, Gavin Patrick, and Jack Robert.
He will be missed by many and replaced by none.
And another regrettable thing about death
is the ceasing of your own brand of magic,
which took a whole life to develop and market-
the quips, the witticisms, the slant
adjusted to a few, those loved ones nearest
the lip of the stage, their soft faces blanched
in the footlight glow, their laughter close to tears,
their tears confused with their diamond earrings,
their warm pooled breath in and out with your heartbeat,
their response and your performance twinned.
the jokes over the phone, The memories packed
in the rapid-access file. The whole act.
who will do it again? That’s it: no one,
imitators and descendants aren’t the same.
The MacDonald Family.