JA Snow Funeral Home

339 Lacewood Drive, Halifax, NS


Angus McDonald

June 27, 1926March 23, 2020

McDonald, Angus, Master Mariner, aged 93, died on March 23, 2020, at home with family. Born in Glasgow, Scotland, he loved the sea and ships. In 1943, at the age of 17, he joined his first ship, and survived being torpedoed in the South Atlantic during that first voyage. He continued his maritime career, from cadet through to navigating officer, tug skipper, harbour pilot, and finally was appointed to command of his own ship. After sailing as Master in several ships, he came ashore to various shore jobs, including marine surveyor, port warden, and marine safety consultant. In 1951 he married the love of his life, Mary Guthrie, a marriage that lasted 68 years until dear Mary’s death in September 2019.

Captain McDonald made significant contributions to the maritime sector over very many years through his work with Transport Canada, Canadian Coast Guard, the Nautical Institute, CESO and the International Ocean Institute - Canada. He was a founding member and past president of the Atlantic Division of the Company of Master Mariners of Canada and a Fellow of the Nautical Institute.

Angus was an avid writer and contributor of professional papers and commentary to nautical publications. He was instrumental in committees organising annual seminars on nautical matters, pollution and safety of seafarers. He had a passion for learning and teaching. In February 2020, Angus was awarded the UK Merchant Navy Medal for Meritorious Service for his contribution to the safety of seafarers and to the Maritime Industry. Angus achieved his goal of writing his book "My Lucky Life", chronicling his life at sea. Angus loved the works of Ayrshire poet Robert Burns. He was a founding member of the Halifax Burns Club and their Honorary Life President. He was well-known for his recitation of poems by Robert Burns, including a great rendition of the “Address to a Haggis”. Angus was also an active member of Fort Massey United Church, volunteering at many events including being master of ceremonies for several Phantoms of the Pipes concerts and also for the Outreach Committee.

In 2018, Angus was awarded the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers acknowledging his volunteer efforts in various aspects of the nautical field, Rotary, church and Meals on Wheels. He established and ran the Sea Venture Society , from 1985-1991. This was a sail training venture for young people, giving them experience at sea on a tall ship, sailing out of Halifax Angus was a member of the Canadian Naval Memorial Trust which advocates to preserve HMCS Sackville just as she was in 1944. Being a seafarer, he recognized the important work of the Mission to Seafarers Halifax and remained a strong supporter of the Mission. When delivering meals for Meals on Wheels, Angus built many wonderful relationships with clients due to his cheerful, funny and caring demeanor.

Angus and a group of good friends were regulars on Thursdays for lunches at The Old Triangle in Halifax; they enjoyed the camaraderie with each other and the staff. Dearly loved and will be forever missed by his son Alan, New Zealand; daughters Lindsay and Alison; daughter-in-law Catherine, New Zealand; grandson Finn and granddaughter Katy, New Zealand; as well as by nephews and nieces in Scotland and England, not to mention by a very wide circle of very good friends.

A Celebration of Life will be held at Fort Massey United Church at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Canadian Naval Memorial Trust, Mission to Seafarers Halifax, the Nova Scotia Sea School or Fort Massey United Church. www.jasnowfuneralhome.com


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Angus McDonald

have a memory or condolence to add?

Mike Smith

April 19, 2020

Captain Angus MacDonald was a close friend of my late father, Dr. Jim Smith. He had a keen interest in my own career at sea and was a great mentor to me and a better friend to our family. On behalf of our family to the family of Captain MacDonald I would like to extend our deepest condolences.

Fair winds and following seas.

Geoff D'Eon

April 13, 2020

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Angus and Mary in Halifax. The first encounter in 2015 was connected to their brief appearance in a CBC TV special about Canada's health care system. The second was just last summer, and involved me gathering stories from Angus about his time at sea during the war. He was a grand story-teller. The sea was in his blood. Angus and Mary were always so welcoming at their apartment. Just lovely people, both of them. I consider myself very fortunate to have met them. Sincere condolences to the family.

Helen Hartley

April 9, 2020

My sincere condolences to the McDonald family on the passing of your father, so soon after Mary's passing. They both were such a dynamic duo, yet , with very distinct personalities which complemented them both. Every time we met, there was always a very pleasant greeting, and, no doubt, Angus probably had a 'wee' story to tell. I am very blessed to have known them both. Love, Helen

Todd Gilmore

April 9, 2020

Capt. McDonald was a true mentor and friend. Our paths first crossed when I was one of his students at the Nova Scotia Nautical Institute at Pier 21. I will always remember his inspiring and enthusiastic sea story's.

Capt. McDonald had an immense passion for the safety all seafarers working in the marine industry. He was well known and greatly respected within the local maritime community. His contributions to our industry are immeasurable and long lasting.

Rest in Peace Capt. McDonald, Fair Winds and Following Seas.

Alan Knight

April 9, 2020

Capt. Angus McDonald was a treasured friend and advisor, a great marine story-teller, and a man of enormous ability and vision. After a lifetime in the marine industry, in "retirement" he provided marine training in developing nations on behalf of United Nations. The number of seafarers whom Angus trained and inspired are legion, and they will continue to inspire others. His outstanding contribution to the safety of life at sea was recognized by the award of the U.K. Merchant Navy Medal for Meritorious Service. Rest in peace, Captain McDonald, your duty was superbly done.

Linda Powell

April 8, 2020

I met Angus and his wonderful wife, Mary, when I was a young teacher at Bel Ayr Elementary School in Dartmouth. They were the most delightful couple who made a lasting impression on both my husband and I. The fact that my husband was also named Angus delighted Mr McDonald immensely. They were both very humble people and were very respected by all who had the fortune of knowing them. They loved their family and spoke of each of you often. We shall always treasure our memories of this very special couple. May God bless each one of you as you begin to learn how to live your lives without Mary and Angus.
With deepest sympathy,
Linda and Angus Powell

Rob Gordon

April 8, 2020

Great fellow, True gentleman and professional.

Ian MacIsaac

April 8, 2020

Angus McDonald was small in stature but one of the mightiest men I have encountered! I first met Angus when I joined the Halifax Burns Club. As a man whose roots were originally from the West Coast of Scotland, I bonded quickly with him through our love of whisky and Burns! It became apparent that Angus was one of the key drivers of this club and he embraced all who became members to share their love of Burns and fellowship. Angus was a true Burnsian, and loved the connection with all who were associated. Always a true gentleman and a great wit. His deep baritone voice reciting Robert Burns' little known poem, "The Fornicator" will always stick in my mind. Farwell Angus, it was an honor to be in your company!

David Glover

April 8, 2020

Sleep well my fellow Glaswegian. Always a great inspiration to the Burns Club in Halifax. It is so very very sad to see you go! You were quite simply a wonderful human being and my wee Scottish heart sinks when I think of your passing. Oh so many good laughs we shared over the years, I thank you for blessing me with your presence, inspiration and the best stories imaginable.


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