Rev. G. John MacDonald

Oscoda, Michigan
September 2, 1928 - July 23, 2020

Service Location



Memorial service information will be announced soon

Obituary Notice

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.

Perfection Wasted
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.
John Updike

The MacDonald Family.


Alzheimer's Association


I will always remember my Uncle Bud as one of my favorite people. Always excited to see him and always sad to see him go. I loved and admired him for his passion and humor. Always a joy to be with, I will hold in my memories wonderful thoughts of a man who over came much and gave even more. Although we were separated by distance I felt a closeness and admiration of him that I find hard to explain. Perhaps it was inspired by the deep love my mother and dad had for this dynamic brother. Perhaps it was the stories of his adventures or the stories of late night phone calls that he would make to my father. My father's closeness to him and his brothers were a wonderful role model that inspires my brother and sisters today. I thank him for the love he shared with our family and my thoughts and prayers are with my wonderful Aunt Ro, and my beautiful cousins Mary, Chad and Peter.
— Peter MacDonald (Newfoundland, Canada)
A beautiful obituary for a beautiful man and an uncle like no other. He lit up the room and lit up our lives when we were lucky enough to be with him. Despite geographical distances, I always felt the strength and warmth of the bond with him, my other uncles and aunts and my cousins and all the larger MacD clan. Sending all my best wishes and love to Aunt Ro and cousins Mary, Chad and Peter
— Eve MacDonald (London, UK)
Your loss is our loss as we all loved Buddy. Loving, caring and empathetic to all .he lived and loved large and was singularly unique. Oh, the stories we could tell!! Paula and I stopped at least three times in Oscoda MI so we could see him again and be wondrous of him and his place in life. I vividly recall canoeing on the AuSable river with Buddy when B52,s were practising takeoffs and landing. He was one of five wonderful brothers and now we are losing them but what place in life they all had. The joys of being a MacDonald and the happiness associated with it
My thoughts are with Ro and Chad, Mary and Peter
— Donald Fraser MacQuarrie (Island View NB)
I'm so sorry to hear of Father John's death. I grew up just a couple of blocks up the street and went to school with Michael. He presided over some family weddings and funerals. Although I never knew him personally, I always knew of him and his peaceful presence in our community.
— Lucy Fazely (Sherman)
You were a great influence to me in my younger years. I thank you. May you rest in peace.
— David Koenig
To: The MacDonald Family. I am so sorry to hear of your loss, but I also cannot deny how relieved I am for both Mr. MacDonald as well as those of you who have lovingly cared for him for so long. He has left a beautiful legacy behind in what I see is such a beautiful and heartfelt family. You are all in my prayers. Love and blessings.
— Brett Koon
My heartfelt condolences to your family. Having spent so much time in Father John’s home as a teenager and friend of Mary, I have such warm (and many humorous) memories of him. Seeing his kindness toward and acceptance of all people provided poignant guidance and a living example which I remember still.
— Jeanne Chatel
A wonderful man and wonderful life - I'm truly blessed to have known John. On a scale of 1 to charismatic, he was a 10! My heartfelt sympathies to his family during this time of loss. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
— Mark DuHamel
Father was a kind and gentle man whose love was given freely. He was an advisor of truth. I am grateful for his advice so many
years ago. God be with Rose Marie and the family.
— Karen James
I am saddened by the passing of my Uncle Bud - when I heard the news I was swept with some of the grief I felt last year with my dad's passing - but that is what Uncle Bud always said "you punch one MacDonald you've punched the whole clan" - thinking of him and you all and know that he lives in all of you - and us xo take care
— Barb MacDonald Collombin
Father John will be missed by so many. He was a giving man and always there in times of need for my family, both in good times and bad and there were many of both. I feel so blessed to have known him and all my memories of Father John.
— Kathy LeCureux Marshall

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