Joseph M. McDonald Sr.
February 19, 1930 – August 28, 2020
Joseph Michael McDonald of Swansea, Massachusetts, son of the late Joseph Michael and the late Gertrude (Dearden) McDonald, passed away peacefully August 28, 2020 at the age of 90 after a short illness, surrounded by the family that he loved and who loved him. He was preceded in death by his wife Lucille Anne (Bernier) McDonald, to whom he was married for 41 years prior to her death in 1998.
Joseph was born and raised in Fall River, Massachusetts. He was a graduate of St. Patrick’s Grammar School and Monsignor Coyle High School. He was a Korean War Veteran, spending two years in the Army from 1952-1954. He was a graduate of Providence College, where he was awarded a Bachelor of Arts in English. He received his Master’s Degree in Education in 1959 from Bridgewater State College. He continued his education over the years, taking many post graduate courses at Bridgewater State College and Bristol Community College, including many with his son.
He worked for his father at the Berkshire Fine Spinning/King Phillip Mill and then Stop & Shop for many years before being hired by the Fall River Public Schools in 1956, first teaching students at the Samuel Watson, then the John J. McDonough, which eventually became the Matthew J. Kuss Middle School. A much-respected 8th Grade Social Studies teacher and former Vice Principal for the Kuss, throat cancer forced his retirement in 1992 after 36 years of teaching. In the 1970’s, he was part of a group of educators that crafted the first sex education curriculum, along with the Social Study curriculum for Grades 5-8 for the Fall River Schools.
In the 1980’s until very recently, he was a part-time volunteer at Battleship Cove, working closely with the PT Boat coordinators and also allowing his oldest granddaughter to assist him in the care of those boats. He was also part of a group of volunteers that refurbished and expanded the model exhibit on the USS Massachusetts-featuring his work along with that of many talented model builders from the New England area.
Joseph was a photographer, shooting weddings in the 1950s for his friend Armand Jean and shooting tens of thousands of photos in his life: documenting his life and inspiring his son and granddaughters to do the same. He was an avid, award winning model builder, amassing nearly a thousand competition awards in his lifetime for model planes, ships, armor, cars and miniature figures. A member of the Fall River Model Airplane Club in his youth, he was one of the founding members of the Bay Colony Historic Modelers in 1968: a model building organization which still thrives today. He served as a member of the Men’s Guild at the former Our Lady of Fatima Church in Swansea. He was a member of the Fall River Educators Association, the Massachusetts Retired Teachers Association, The International Plastic Modelers Society, and a former member of both the American Aviation Historical Society and Cross and Cockade. His love of history, specifically military history, coupled with his lifelong love of reading resulted in him amassing a huge personal library of books in all genres.
He was an enthusiastic music lover whose musical tastes went from jazz and standards to blues and heavy metal and all styles in between, with his favorite performers being Erroll Garner, The Boston Pops and Emerson, Lake and Palmer. He was also a big supporter of the local bands that his son performed in, including The Hellfire Club, Brideshead and Briar Rose-often photographing their performances for the bands. A talented piano player himself, Joseph was a semi-professional musician during his stint in the Army, regularly playing at the Neville Island Café, in Neville Township Pennsylvania.
When his oldest granddaughter arrived, the decision was to name him Pepere, which morphed into P.P.: a nickname he loved and treasured as did both of his granddaughters.
He is survived by his son Joseph Michael McDonald Jr., his daughter in law Joan (Clark) McDonald, granddaughters Kayleigh Marie Shania McDonald and Hope Elizabeth Sharon McDonald, nephews Eric Paul Anctil and Christian Charles Bernier, nieces Nanette Marie Gidjunis, Valerie Anne Anctil and Erika Jane Hockenhull, sisters-in-law Vigali Anctil and Natalie Jane Dinaburg, brother-in-law Dr. Arthur O. Anctil and his lifelong friends Nora Renquin and Pauline Croteau, along with many friends and several generations of students. Besides his wife, he was preceded in death by his lifelong friend Jean Judge, along with his brothers-in-law Paul Amable Bernier, Raymond Joseph Bernier and Normand Richard Bernier.
The McDonald family would like to thank Country Garden Rehabilitation, but especially the full medical staff from the Saint Mary’s and Saint James units at St. Anne’s Hospital for the care and compassion of Joseph and his family during his treatment there.
His visiting hours will be held on Monday, September 7, 2020 from 4:00 to 7:00PM in the Waring-Sullivan Home at Birchcrest, 189 Gardners Neck Rd., Swansea. Due to current restrictions on public gathering his funeral and burial will be private. Contributions in his honor may be made to the American Cancer Society, 3 Speen St., Framingham, MA 01701.
American Cancer Society
3 Speen Street, Framingham, MA 01701
Monday, September 7, 2020
Funeral and Burial Private
Joseph M. McDonald Sr.
September 8, 2020
I am so sad to learn of Mr. McDonald's passing. Joe was such a kind and thoughtful man. He was a loyal and trusted friend to my parents for many many years. When my father passed he was there for my mother, and when it was my mother's turn he was there for us. I will always remember his kind words and generous support. Joe was a true gentleman. He will be missed.
September 7, 2020
Mr. McDonald was always very helpful when I worked as a manager at the battleship cove gift shop he always gave good advise about models when I needed it he was my fathers teacher and he had many stories to tell me he also was always so kind to my children he helped my son with a school lesson my son volunteered with my Mr. McDonald on Saturdays and my son learned a lot from him he was a great man RIP
August 31, 2020
Had the pleasure of meeting Joe when I fist started going to Bay Colony meetings. Pleasant, informative gentlemen. Great host on Battleship Mass. at times when visited. Not know as well as others but a great acquaintance
August 29, 2020
Mr. McDonald was a wonderful neighbor. We would chat out in the driveway and I enjoyed his stories and dry sense of humor. We already miss him! Our family extends our sympathy to Joe and his family.
August 29, 2020
A fantastic man has left this earth but will forever be in our hearts. Many memories of Joe will live on forever. We send All our love, the Gisetto Family; John Sr., Bette and John Jr.
August 29, 2020
I have know tbe McDonald Family going on 10+ years. Joseph Sr.'s son Joe (#JoeSquared) and myself have forged a friendship over the years, that is one of my strongest bonds. I had the privilege and honor to be accepted into and as a close friend to the entire family, Joseph Sr., as well. The unity of their family is the strength that bonds them together eternally. Their love for each other is and will always be their strength. I am honored to call them all, my friends, and my family.
Much love to them all.