Dorothy V. Macdonald

June 19, 1919May 27, 2018

Dorothy V. Macdonald, resident of Scituate, MA, died peacefully in Hingham, Massachusetts, after a full and inspirational life of almost 99 years.

Born in New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1919, Dorothy Violetta Demers was the third of four children of Alcide and Eva Demers. She fondly reminisced about her early life in the country, her father’s strawberry fields, cooking on her woodstove, and her long walks to school holding her sister’s hand. As a teenager, she kept a scrapbook of photos and illustrations of nurses, aspiring to one day work in this profession. She graduated from New Bedford High School in 1937.

Fulfilling her dream, Dorothy attended St. Anne’s School of Nursing, graduating in 1940 and quickly rising to the position of Director of Nurses at Tobey Hospital in Wareham, MA. In 1944, at a mixer for Tobey Hospital nurses and soldiers stationed at Camp Edwards, Dorothy met her husband, Hugh C. Macdonald. He promised to marry her the night they met. Hugh kept his promise two weeks after he returned from his service in the South Pacific in 1946. During the 18 months of his absence, the two wrote faithfully to each other and exchanged photographs. Dorothy preserved and treasured these letters through her life.

Their married life journey began humbly in Massachusetts. They started a family in a cottage without running water. Dorothy carried water from a well to the house to care for her first three babies while Hugh toiled at his civilian job. As years passed, hard work, faith, and commitment to each other, provided them with a prosperous life filled with five children, comfortable homes, and many dear friends.

Over her lifetime, Dorothy worked as a Registered Nurse, realtor, shopkeeper, and antique dealer. Side by side, Dorothy and Hugh designed and built their dream home, modeled after a sketch Hugh had sent her while he served overseas during the war. She had a passion for interior decorating. Dorothy’s creativity and ingenuity served her well, as she cleverly furnished their homes with reimagined yard sale finds or pieces she designed and her husband built. They restored homes, grew vegetables, threw clambakes, and filled their homes with extended family and friends.

Dorothy loved attending her children’s activities. Somehow she always managed to secure the best seats at football games, plays, or concerts. Her applause rose above the others. Her chest would swell with pride as she spoke about her daughters who followed her in nursing or her children who served in the military. Dorothy had a quick wit and a sharp mind. She loved gardening, crafts, and, most of all, bragging about her grandchildren.

Dorothy is survived by her five children: Nanette Limbacher, Janette Johnson Marbut, Hugh C. Macdonald, Jr, Mariette Wooden, and Suzette Lebenzon. She also leaves her children in law: William Limbacher, Bob Marbut, Sabrina Macdonald, and Doug Wooden, her nine grandchildren, eight great grandchildren, many adored nieces and nephews, and her “honorary daughter,” Irene Egan.

In her late seventies, Dorothy found the strength and energy to nurse her husband through his prolonged illness. During this time she often commented, “I know now why God led me to be a nurse.” He predeceased her in 1999. She was predeceased by her brothers, Albert and Normand; her dear sister, Jeannette; her beloved sons-in-law, Stewart M. Johnson, MD and Joseph E. Lebenzon, MD; and her precious grandson, Hugh Johnson.

A funeral Mass will be held on Saturday June 2, 2018 at 10am from St. Mary of the Nativity Church, 1 Kent Street, Scituate. Interment to follow at St. Mary of the Nativity Cemetery. Family and friends are respectfully invited to attend.

Dorothy’s family would like to express gratitude to staff at the Pat Roche Hospice House for the compassion they showed her while she was under their care.


  • Funeral Mass Saturday, June 2, 2018

Dorothy V. Macdonald

have a memory or condolence to add?

Peter Tibbetts

May 31, 2018

Nan, Jan, Hugh, Mariette, and Suzette, my thoughts are with you as you remember your mother and a life well lived. You are all a testament to the exemplary life your mother and father led.


May 30, 2018

What a wonderful portrait of Dorothy! I have such fond memories of her here in San Antonio. She had a great sense of humor and always wore that beautiful smile!
Much love to her family,

Jennifer Rohnstock, LPN

May 29, 2018

My sincerest condolences to the family of this remarkable lady. I thoroughly enjoyed her company and caring for her at Proprietors Green. She had the most wonderful stories of her career delivering babies, and I would hang on her every word! She was truly one of the most inspirational Residents I have had the pleasure to know. While she has left a void in our community, and in your family, we will continue to remember her fondly. I personally will honor her memory and passion for being a nurse in my own nursing practice.
No doubt you will find comfort in all her wonderful stories from your time together. I will be thinking of you as you celebrate her life!

Karen Gervasi

May 29, 2018

Nanette, I am so sorry to hear of your mom's passing. She sounds like she was an amazing woman, wife and mother. You and your family were so blessed to have her in your life for so long.

Karen (Keyes) Gervasi
SHS '64