Marie Western McDonald

August 12, 1920 - December 13, 2020

                     One hundred wonderful years, one incredible lady

We celebrate the long, happy life of Marie McDonald.  Marie was hardworking, resourceful, and fiercely independent.  She passed peacefully December 13, 2020, due to causes incident to age, in her own home surrounded by her loving family.  Jessie “Marie” was born August 12, 1920, in Oasis, Utah, cherished daughter of Jesse W. and Lydia Larsen Western and sister to Deloy, Royston “Ross”, and Ira Alva “Joe”.  The family endured the poverty of the Great Depression in Deseret, Utah, in a home rich with love.  Marie believed she had the best parents in the world. 

Among the many fond memories of her childhood was hearing the stories of neighbors and family who had been pioneers in the Mormon trek and early settlers of Millard County. Marie attended AC Nielson Elementary and graduated from Hinckley High School at the age of sixteen.  

Marie quickly took a job as a domestic with a family in Salt Lake City. Her father sold a team of plow horses to help her get started.  She left Deseret for the big city and indoor plumbing.  Although she lived elsewhere for the rest of her adult life, her heart stayed in Millard County and she always considered it her home.

Marie put herself through LDS Business College.  World War II was raging by the time she finished her associate degree.  She enjoyed being a self-sufficient career woman despite the difficult circumstances. Marie believed one her most valuable assets was her ability to “Pinch a penny until it squeaks.”  

Marie married John Vincent “Vince” McDonald July 3, 1948.  She was working for the Ford Motor company at the time but was dismissed because the company did not employ married women. She felt she could always find another job, but would never find another man as good as Vince.

Marie and Vince welcomed three beloved daughters and family was the center of their universe. She was so proud of each of her daughters.  Marie returned to the workforce when her youngest daughter was four years old and continued to work in managerial positions until her retirement.  This included a  six year stint with Vince as owners/operators of an Arctic Circle restaurant franchise.  Through all of this, Marie managed the household and always had a good, home-cooked meal on the dinner table.  However, she had her limits.  Especially during the Arctic Circle years, she let it be known, “I work and cook 363 days a year. I’ll be damned if I’m cooking on Thanksgiving!”  The family ate out.

Marie and Vince enjoyed an active retirement volunteering with the Arthritis Foundation and Fibromyalgia support group.  They belonged to the Rose and Orchid Societies. Marie was voted the Fuchsia Fan of the Year. When Vince became ill, Marie was his tireless care provider until his death in 2009.  

Marie was preceded in death by her husband, stepdaughter Jacqueline M. Hards, siblings, in-laws.  Survived by daughters Catherine “Katie” (Patrick J. Jefferies), Janine, Tc (Frithjof Clausen).  Grandchildren: Honor Zavatta-MacDonald (Mike), Rebecca McDonald;  Sierra Jefferies (Scott Jones), Marie Jefferies (Josh Dennis); Kelsey, Jessica, and Caitlin Doyle; Anette (Christian Naevdal), Patrick  (Thea Halvorsen),  and Catherine Clausen. Great-grandchildren: Odessa, Hazel and Milo Jones; Zachary and Alexander Dennis; Hedvig and Haakan Naevdal.

It was Marie’s unyielding desire to remain in her own home.  Her beloved family was instrumental in achieving this goal. Sierra and Marie Jefferies supported her with errands, chauffer services, and gardening help over the last two decades.  Annual visits from the Norwegian Clausen clan (Patrick, Thea, and Catherine) were highlights of her life. Marie counted the days between their visits, anxiously awaiting the next one. Kelsey Doyle was her guardian angel and greatest joy for the last 18 months along with Wilbur the rescue cat.

 Marie’s family appreciates the many individuals and organizations who assisted in keeping Marie happy and healthy at home.  This long list includes Dr. Michelle Sorweid, Nurse Lisa Marie, and staff at the U of U Gerontology Clinic, Inspiration Hospice, and December Rose Senior Home Care, especially sweet Debbie. Thank you to the friends and family members for so many kindnesses.  Marie’s life was greatly enriched for over a decade by the University of Utah, College of Social Work, Neighbors Helping Neighbors Program. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to this outstanding program.  Contact regina.campbell@socwk.utah.edu.

Funeral arrangements entrusted to Starks Funeral Parlor. Marie was laid to rest in Mount Calvary Catholic Cemetery with her dear husband Vince on December 16, 2020.   A celebration of life is planned for August 2021.