On Tuesday, October 22, 2019, my sisters, brother and I lost our father, and our mother lost her partner of more than 66 years. It is difficult to sum up in a few short paragraphs the life of a man who touched our hearts and shaped our lives so profoundly.
Allan Russel MacDonald was born in Nelson on September 1, 1930, the fifth child of William Russel and Margaret MacDonald. He had three older brothers (Roy Angus MacDonald, William David MacDonald, and Gordon (Buzz) MacDonald) and one sister (Marion Elizabeth (Betty) Ridge), all of whom predeceased him. Allan (or Mac as he was known to many) grew up in South Slocan where his father worked for West Kootenay Power. After his father’s death, the family moved into Nelson to a home on Hoover Street.
Allan enjoyed many sports growing up, most specifically baseball and hockey. He also loved to sing, and he was a member of Mrs. Ferguson’s boys’ choir when he was a boy. By Grade 10, he left school in order to work and help support his mother, and in fact, Allan never stopped working until he was 70 when he and his wife, Mary, sold their business and retired.
Allan married Mary Caruk on June 13, 1953, and they went on to have five children: Cheryl (Lance) Trevison, Vallayne (Jim) Maximick, Kerri MacDonald, Tracy (Mike) Lenarduzzi, and Allan (Tammy) MacDonald. Mac also has eleven grandchildren (Kyle (Zoe), Jaimy (Rianne), Tyler (Lisa), Kody, Erin, Danielle (Malcolm), Braelyn, Dyllan (Karlee), Mitchell (Cassidy), Grace and Jackson) and two great-grandchildren (Dallas and Emileigh and one more on the way).
Allan was involved in the automotive business for many years, and he and Mary owned Taylor-Wilton Nelson until their retirement in 1999. Throughout the years, Allan remained active by coaching baseball and hockey, and he was also an avid curler. He and Mary participated in mixed curling, and Allan also curled competitively in bonspiels with a men’s rink. In his 20s, Allan built and raced small hydroplane boats along with some other locals who formed a club, and they attended many races in British Columbia and Idaho and Washington State. Allan’s love of being on the water continued when he and Mary purchased a boat and spent many weekends ‘out on the lake’. In an age before it was trendy to unplug for the weekend, Allan and Mary headed for the quiet and solitude of Pilot Bay and other destinations on Kootenay Lake most weekends. Although it wouldn’t be quite accurate to call Allan a successful fisherman (as he rarely caught anything), he had all the gear, and it would not be uncommon for him to have his eye on a line he had dropped while relaxing and playing cribbage on the boat.
Allan was a gregarious man who enjoyed the company of others and liked to have a good laugh. He loved to tell jokes and play cards with friends. He and Mary had a standing date with a group of friends every Saturday night for cards for many years. He also liked to go to Reno at least once a year for some fun in the casinos. What’s more, Allan continued to have a great appreciation for music and singing. Allan could not listen to the rhythmic tapping and drumming of a bagpipe parade without tapping his feet and smiling. He and Mary attended countless musical theatre performances, some more than once! When he was in business, he and Mary were able to mix a little work with pleasure by travelling to conventions in various locations. Allan also loved the cruises he and Mary were able to go on, especially the fabulous desserts (as Al never met a sweet treat he didn’t like!) Undoubtedly, the highlight of Allan’s travels was his trip to the Maritimes where he went lobster fishing with relatives, and he and Mary toured Canada’s east coast.
At his core, Allan was happiest at home, and even though he often complained about the noise and confusion of such a large family, he loved having his family around him. He and Mary hosted many family dinners, and he always welcomed friends and visitors.
Dad, you will be missed. Your presence in our lives has shaped us into who we are today. I believe that after so many days of rain, the sun broke through the clouds to create a path for your journey, and though you have left us, you will always remain here in our hearts.
There will not be service at Allan’s request. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the BC Lung Association https://bc.lung.ca/donate.