Remembering Jim MacDonald

You are invited to offer condolences to the family or to share words of tribute to Jim MacDonald by posting your reflections and comments below.

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Ellen Quarles

Just a quick note, to remember Mr. Mac. I am very thankful for his Spanish class, as now I live in Spain. He was always positive and so dedicated to his students. We are praying for his family in this sad time, he is in a better place now.

Posted by Ellen Quarles on Tuesday January 21, 2014 at 02:52PM
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Buzzy Male

"Mac's" farewell service today was beautiful just like he was. I met Jim and Joyce in 1973 when we both were new teachers at Episcopal. No person I have ever known has worked harder at being the "good shepherd" for so many kids for so long.....with such great humor and positive vibes. A man of many talents, I will remember most his great heart and and happy disposition and willingness to think out of the box and be real. It was very fitting to hear from both students and colleagues today and especially from his EMS brothers and sisters. Very few in academic life are able to spread their caring and influence in such a wide manner as Mac did in this community. He was the most "real " Saint I have ever known and it is fitting that he finished his teaching career at STAB. My thoughts and prayers to Joyce and their families.I will miss you every time I ever hear "Amazing Grace" again. buzzy

Posted by Buzzy Male on Saturday January 18, 2014 at 09:43PM
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Ross Reynolds

Jim MacDonald was a role model to so many of us at Episcopal.  My summer abroad in Segovia with him and Ray Keck was one of the most formative years in my life.  When I think about it, it was the first year I truly learned to live away from home and be happy with my independence.  It was also the year I became fluent in Spanish.  Without that, I wouldn't be married to the woman I'm married to or have the family I have.  

Years later, when I was starting my professional career, Ray and Mac were kind enough to hire and mentor me at St. Anne's.      Mac's broad experience in life gave him a gift for connecting with all his students, not just the gifted ones, but also the outsiders and the lost ones who could care less about school and needed direction.  He was very passionate the role of the faculty in guiding students and spent a great deal of time in faculty meetings reviewing individual cases that needed attention.  As a typical A-student turned teacher, I learned a lot from him about what it meant to be a real teacher trying to make a difference in kids' lives.  

We will all remember him well. 


Posted by Ross Reynolds on Friday January 17, 2014 at 11:36PM
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Steven Sisman

I took Mr. MacDonalds famous Spanish class. I can fondly remember him say "if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, well then its a duck!" it still makes me laugh. He had impeccable timing with words and he always taught with a sense of humor but knew when to be serious. He was a great man with a passion for life and a role model on how to live life to the fullest. You will really be missed, our town, and the whole world has lost a strong soul, a great man. I pray I see you again on the other side, lots of love.

Posted by Steven Sisman on Friday January 17, 2014 at 10:33PM
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Sydney Wicks

I first met Coach Mac in the Spanish classroom, but I had seen him around school for years before my first class with him. He had such a presence within the school community - helping set up all the events in the Convocation Center, being the tech-guy for every chapel (I fondly remember being able to always rely on seeing his face in the tech booth at the top of the stairs in the auditorium), singing and whistling through the hallways, and putting a smile everyone's face. When I think back on my time at STAB, his face is one of the first that comes to mind, and I have no doubt that this is because he took the time to truly get to know everyone he ever crossed paths with, and he made a space for them in his heart. Besides being a wonderful teacher in the classroom, Coach Mac was a wonderful teacher and man outside of the classroom as well. It was through our conversations outside of school, specifically at the Scottsville Rescue Squad, that he helped me to realize my passion for helping others, and for that I am eternally grateful. His advice was always welcome and will always remain with me. I was lucky enough to have lunch with Coach Mac just a couple months ago, and I will forever remember his last words of wisdom: "Have fun out there, girl!".

Coach Mac. To put it simply, you were the best. The best friend, the best teacher, the best tech-guy, the best mentor, the best whistler, the best advisor....the list goes on and on. You hold a place in many hearts, and I don't doubt that you will be missed every day. I'll be thinking of you, and forever will go on singing. 

I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you.

It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You'll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend.

- "For Good", Wicked soundtrack (also, one of Coach Mac's favorites)

Posted by Sydney Wicks on Friday January 17, 2014 at 10:24AM
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Stacey Gearhart

In addition to Coach Mac's vibrant smile, I will also remember how his eyes twinkled when he engaged you in conversation. Whether you knew him for a minute or decades, his genuine interest in your well-being was immediately evident and something you never doubted. And boy could he tell a riotous story! Rest in peace, Coach Mac.

Posted by Stacey Gearhart on Friday January 17, 2014 at 10:12AM
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william debutts

He was my Spanish teacher, teacher advisor, lacrosse coach, mentor and friend while at Episcopal High School (EHS).  He was the teacher or advisor everyone (teacher and student) admired and liked because he could "relate" to the students.  He kept me out of trouble as best he could and helped many, many boys grow into successful men.  I remember his love for Santana and his playing the bass guitar.  His love and intensity for lacrosse was second to none. He loved to win and enjoyed more watching others do it.  He brought out the best in everyone.  Who else makes would make us run suicides during halftime of an EHS vs Woodberry lacrosse game?....not because we were losing (EHS 12 - Woodberry 5), but because it was obvious we were not trying hard enough. The score did not matter to him, but effort and desire did.  Good lessons, good times, good memories.   While I was sad to see him leave EHS, I was glad that he came to STAB and my hometown. I can speak for the EHS community and my lacrosse brethren, he will be dearly missed. 

Posted by william debutts on Thursday January 16, 2014 at 01:16PM
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George Craddock

"Sharp as a marble!"...."Coffee, tea or milk? Yes, please!"

I too can still hear him.  I will miss that voice - even when he wasn't being musical, Coach Mac's was a beautiful voice voice, and it beamed through a broad, glowing smile.  As a diligent Spanish teacher delighted by Don Quixote and as an astute, lovingly tough student of football, Coach Mac taught us all.  He also did it all:  literally more hands-on than the most dedicated 'public servant.'  I feel blessed to have known him, to have learned from him.  Hasta luego, senior reluciente, a light always.

Posted by George Craddock on Thursday January 16, 2014 at 12:52PM
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Laura Robertson

There is so much to say about Mac. His quick wit, a smile that literally lit up a room, his passion for his family, his students,  his colleagues who he quickly turned into friends, and of course music. More than anything though, when I think about Mac I see him as the person who really showed me what it means to serve. Mac believed in service whether it was rushing into an emergecy, setting up for Lessons and Carols, coaching or teaching what had to have been thousands of young people, he personified the best of what we hope to be.  He had both, to paraphrase the words of King, "a heart full of grace" and a "soul generated by love."  Everyone of us who had the privilege of knowing Mac was graced by that heart and how lucky we are to have had the opportunity to be touched by him. 

Posted by Laura Robertson on Wednesday January 15, 2014 at 08:42PM
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Robin Albertson-Wren

I so fondly remember how Mac rescued me on the day I stepped on an upturned jar of pencils and had to be rushed to the emergency ward.  He was on the scene in minutes, calm and collected and full of good humor.  He even made me laugh as the gurney wheeled me down the hallway of the Lower School.  What a dear fellow.  I am so glad to have had him in my life.  He will be missed.

Posted by Robin Albertson-Wren on Wednesday January 15, 2014 at 02:23PM

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