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In Memoriam: Ray McDonald

Ray and Helen McDonaldBeloved TPC member Ray McDonald entered the Church Triumphant on March 24, 2017.

Memorial Service • Thursday, March 30, 7 p.m., Sanctuary
Visitation • Thursday, March 30, 5:30 p.m., Sanctuary
Committal Service • Friday, March 31, 11:30 a.m., U.S. Military Cemetery, Bushnell

Payton Ray McDonald, Jr. was a true Southern gentleman who loved God, his family and his country. He passed away peacefully, surrounded by his wife and family.

Ray was born in Birmingham, AL in 1931, the only son of Payton Ray McDonald, Sr. and Mary Hannah Kirkwood McDonald. He had four sisters: Mary Ann McDonald Blake (deceased); Jean McDonald Capps (deceased); Doris McDonald Tate; and Elizabeth McDonald Jenkins.

Ray met his beloved wife Helen through Christian Endeavor at the Wylam Presbyterian Church (near Birmingham) in 1948. They married at that same church in 1951 and celebrated 65 years of loving and laughing together last year.

Ray and Helen were blessed with four children: Ray McDonald, III (Laurie); Cathi Patton; Teri Sietsma (David); and Bob McDonald (Cheryl). Their family also includes nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Ray McDonald - youngRay attended the University of Alabama on a track scholarship, where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Upon graduation, he joined the U.S. Army, serving in the Signal Corps. He retired as a full colonel after 28 years.

Ray and Helen moved to Orlando in 1981, and Ray began his second career as a planning manager at Martin Marietta. They moved to Winter Springs in 1987.

A man of God and family, Ray was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and brother. As is customary in the military, the McDonalds moved frequently. Every move to a new duty station was made by way of Birmingham to visit family.

The McDonalds have lived and traveled all over the world. In addition to his mainland duty stations, Ray was able to take his family on assignments in Taiwan, Germany and Hawaii. He also served in Vietnam and Korea. Ray and Helen have been to all 50 states, usually traveling by car.

Ray and Helen joined Tuskawilla Presbyterian Church in 1982. Ray was an ordained elder who served on the Buildings & Grounds Committee, went on numerous mission trips, delivered Meals on Wheels, was a founding member of the Band of Brothers (a men’s Bible study and fellowship group) and served in many other ways. He was the project manager for the planning and construction of TPC’s sanctuary, a huge job that he tackled with his usual patience, good cheer and professionalism. The McDonald Conference Room bears his name as a testament to the love and respect the congregation has for him.

Ray had a great sense of humor. He loved to smile, laugh and tell jokes. He was a quiet, unsung hero, mentoring more people than can be counted. He could fix anything and hated to throw things away. He loved golf, traveling, collecting trains, playing cards and treating his wife like a princess.

A celebration of Ray’s life will be held at Tuskawilla Presbyterian Church, 3600 Aloma Ave. (SR 426), Oviedo, on Thursday, March 30. Visitation and viewing at 5:30-7 p.m.; service at 7 p.m.

Ray McDonald will be laid to rest on Friday, March 31, 11:30 a.m., at the U.S. Military Cemetery in Bushnell.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Ray’s memory to Wounded Warriors.

Comments left below will be forwarded to Helen.

8 Responses to In Memoriam: Ray McDonald

  1. Carolyn Hoglin March 30, 2017 at 6:35 pm #

    Dear Helen,
    What a lot of wonderful memories you must have. I hope that they will comfort you. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

  2. Tom Bligh March 29, 2017 at 12:24 am #

    Dear Ray & Laurie, we are sorry about the passing of your Dad. What a beautiful obituary for such a Wonderful Person. As the Good Lord says he is now at Peace and in the Hands of God…where his earthly time has now moved to the beginning of his Eternity in Heaven. Our Prayers and Thoughts are with Your Mom, You and Your Family.
    Your Dad has created a Lifetime of Memories that, overtime, will replace the pain and suffering you are experiencing now.Blessings & Prayer

  3. Karen Quick March 28, 2017 at 9:21 pm #

    Dear Helen,
    I will always think of Ray and TPC together! He was a really sweet man and always so ready to be of help and I always appreciated his devotion to the church and to all of you. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers.
    Karen Quick

  4. Sylvia Gray March 28, 2017 at 9:38 am #

    I have been honored to know Ray during my time at TPC. He was a fine man. He was always willing to do anything to assist someone in need. I will miss his, “Is the organ giving you any problems?” He spent hours making sure the organ was ready to go. He participated in choir presentations over the years, lending his talents to that endeavor. I will miss him, Helen, but am comforted knowing I will see him again in Heaven. God bless you during this time.

  5. Betty morgan March 28, 2017 at 9:36 am #

    I am so sorry for your loss. I didn,t Ray for long but I knew that he was a friend to all. I have loved iones in Busnelll also and glad he wlill llay at rest there among his comrades.

  6. Lea Ann Bird March 27, 2017 at 6:49 pm #

    I grew up calling him Col. Mac. I have wonderful memories of him and the fun all the kids had wondering what tricks he was going to play on us next. Helen, I love you and pray for peace for you. He is chatting with Mom right now. You and I know what topic they are talking about!

  7. chris wilson March 27, 2017 at 3:39 pm #

    Dear Helen.

    I am so sorry that I will not be able to come to either of the events for Ray. I have already
    committed myself to some other things. My heart and prayers will be with you.

    Chris Wilson

  8. Allen Geddings March 26, 2017 at 7:29 pm #

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I know you were proud of him as a father, husband, and a friend. Thank you for his service for our country. Our prayers and thoughts are with your family. God bless.

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