Donald R. Macdonald

May 15, 1924 ~ January 20, 2020 (age 95)


Donald R. Macdonald

Shelburne, VT


Donald R. Macdonald, 95, died at his home at Wake Robin in Shelburne on Monday Jan. 20th, with his family by his side.


He was born in Arlington MA on May 15, 1924, the son of the late Harold R. and Hazel B. Macdonald.


Donald grew up in Buzzards Bay on Cape Cod and graduated from Bourne High School in June 1942. Upon his graduation he enlisted in the United States Navy. He served for three and a half years in the Naval Air Corps as a combat air crewman in a B-24 Liberator, doing two tours of duty in Europe. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal Gold Star for his service.


After the war Donald studied for a year at Tabor Academy and then went to Brown University, where he was a graduate in the class of 1950.


Donald started his career in the insurance industry after his graduation. He worked for a number of companies including Liberty Mutual and the Travelers and was based in Hartford CT. In 1962 he moved to Burlington VT and along with a partner, Duane Valine, purchased the Peterson Rowlands Insurance Agency. In 1970 this agency merged with another agency, owned by Luther and Fred Hackett, to form Hackett, Valine & Macdonald. Donald served as a senior vice president of the agency and in 1985 he also served as the President of the Independent Insurance Agents of VT. After a long and successful career he retired from Hackett, Valine and Macdonald in 1993.


In 1992 Don was also involved in starting the local Play It Again Sports franchise store with his son Duncan, daughter in law Julia and wife Caroline. He stayed active in the running of the store until his final retirement in 2010.


Donald married Caroline Hensel on July 3, 1965. They lived first in Burlington, then South Burlington, Underhill, Williston and finally after Caroline passed Donald moved to Wake Robin in Shelburne.


Donald was very active in the community, serving on numerous local boards, including the Burlington Lions Club, the American Red Cross, the Unitarian Church in Burlington, the Green Mountain Audubon Society and the Burlington Country Club. He was a long time member of the Country Club as well as the Ethan Allen Club and the Lake Mansfield Trout Club in Stowe.


He was an avid skier throughout his life and served as member of the National Ski Patrol at Mad River Glen in the early 1960’s. He was a founding member of the Hartford Ski club at Mad River Glen. He and Caroline took many trips out west to ski with family and friends in Colorado. After his retirement they also took numerous walking trips throughout Europe. Donald was a lifelong golfer and enjoyed the Burlington Country Club with his regular foursome for many years.  He also enjoyed hiking, canoeing and camping with the many friends he and Caroline had.


His wife Caroline who passed in 2003 and his sister Jane Nam who passed in 2017 predeceased Donald. His three children, Karen Lee Smith of Venice Beach CA, Duncan R. Macdonald and his wife Julia S. Macdonald and their two sons Patrick and Andrew of South Burlington, Erica M. Burke and her husband Thomas Burke, M.D. and their two sons Camden and Taylor of Boulder CO, survive him.


A circle of remembrance will take place at Wake Robin on Thursday Jan. 30th at 2pm. There will also be a memorial service at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Burlington in May. Donald’s ashes will be interned in the memorial garden at the UU Church in Burlington, joining those of his wife Caroline.  Corbin and Palmer Funeral Home will handle arrangements for the service at the UU Church.


Memorial contributions may be made to the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, Donald and Caroline Macdonald memorial fund,


Donald’s family wishes to express their gratitude to the staff at Wake Robin for their care and compassion and also their appreciation to the many friends he had at Wake Robin.


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Donald R. Macdonald, please visit our floral store.


A Circle of Remembrance
January 30, 2020

2:00 PM
Wake Robin
100 Wake Robin Drive
Shelburne, VT 05482

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