Graham MacDonald passes away; Knox College expresses condolences
Knox College is sad to announce that the Rev. William “Graham” MacDonald passed away on November 20, 2020, in his 94th year. Both Graham and Freda, his late wife (d. 2019), attended Knox College and received Master of Divinity degrees in 1985 — after “retiring” from active education careers. A remarkable couple, they were ordained as Presbyterian ministers and spent 14 years in team ministry in Burks Falls, Sundridge, and Magnetawan.
The following is excerpted from Graham’s obituary. Find the full obituary here; it was published in St. Catharines Standard on Nov. 24, 2020.
From humble beginnings on a farm in the Lucknow area of Bruce County, Graham became an educator who rose to become a School Superintendent for the Lambton and Middlesex County School Boards. His advocacy for special needs students in rural areas led to the naming of the Adelaide W.G. MacDonald School in his honour. He spread his knowledge of education where ever he could, which led to Graham, together with Freda, spending their summer holidays in the 1970s working with educators in the British Virgin Islands. “Operation Grey Ox,” which shipped used school textbooks to the BVI, was born out of the need Graham and Freda found in the BVI.
Working with First Nations advisors, educators, and historical society members, he was a driving force behind the building of “Ska Nah Doht,” a recreated First Nations village outside London. At the opening of Ska Nah Doht, in 1973, Graham was made an honorary member of the Oneida Wolf Clan, a privilege he was honoured to have bestowed on him.
Following “retirement,” Graham and Freda attended Knox College in Toronto and were ordained as Presbyterian ministers in 1985. They spent 14 years in a very active and rewarding team ministry in Burks Falls, Sundridge and Magnetawan.
Graham became a prolific writer in his later years, authoring 12 priceless books on family histories and wonderful pieces of fiction, as well as co-authoring three books documenting life in rural Ontario. Graham will always be remembered for his sense of humour, ability to think creatively, his zest for life, and his deep sensitivity and kindness.