Robert E. McDonald


VAN BUREN – Rev. Father Robert E. McDonald, SM, 86, died Wednesday, Jan. 24, at a Van Buren health care facility.

He was born in Limestone, Nov. 29, 1920, the son of Edward and Iva (Brown) McDonald. He was educated in Limestone schools from 1926 to 1936, and studied for the priesthood at the Marist Seminaries in Bedford and Framingham, Mass., from 1936 to 1950. Father Mac, as he was affectionately known, took his religious vows as a Marist (the Society of Mary) at the Marist Novitiate in Staten Island, N.Y., on Sept. 8, 1942

He was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Richard Cardinal Cushing on Feb. 2, 1950, at the Church of Our Lady of Victories in Boston, Mass. His priestly assignments included many areas of ministry.

He was a high school teacher at St. Mary’s College in Van Buren, Van Buren Boys High School, and then Van Buren District High School from 1944 to 1945, 1950 to 1954, and 1956 to 1971. He taught at Cathedral High School in Detroit, Mich., from 1954 to 1956, and at Bishop Grimes High School in East Syracuse, N.Y., from 1971 to 1972.

He was also involved in parish ministry as a parish priest and parochial vicar at St. Bruno Parish in Van Buren from 1972 to 1974, at St. John the Baptist Parish in Brunswick from 1974 to 1978, and at St. Bruno-St. Remi Parish in Van Buren and St. Joseph Parish in Hamlin from 1998 to present.

He served as Catholic Chaplain at. St. Mary’s Hospital and Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston from 1978 to 1988, and as the Catholic Contract Chaplain at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Togus from 1988 to 1998. One of his most beloved ministries was as Chaplain and Team Presenter for the Worldwide Marriage Encounter Movement for more than 25 years.

He is survived by two sisters, Fay Geden of Philadelphia, Pa. and Anne Beemer of Middletown, N.Y.; one brother, Joel McDonald of Long Island, N.Y.

In additon to his parents, he was predeceased by his brothers, Gregory, James, Alfred and Peter; and his sisters, Letha and Theresa.