Lawrence Wesley McDonald Jr

9 Mar 1918 - 21 Dec 2004

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Lawrence Wesley McDonald Jr

9 Mar 1918 - 21 Dec 2004
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The other day, while preparing a lesson for my seminary class, I had a complex question arise. I sat for a few minutes pondering it and was suddenly overwhelmed with the desire to call my grandpa. Unfortunately, that was a call I couldn’t make. It’s been over 10 years since Grandpa McDonald died

Life Information

Lawrence Wesley McDonald Jr


Monticello City Cemetery

Monticello Cemetery Rd
Monticello, San Juan, Utah
United States


August 4, 2012


August 3, 2012

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Memories of Grandpa McDonald

Contributor: bwdraper Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago

The other day, while preparing a lesson for my seminary class, I had a complex question arise. I sat for a few minutes pondering it and was suddenly overwhelmed with the desire to call my grandpa. Unfortunately, that was a call I couldn’t make. It’s been over 10 years since Grandpa McDonald died, and I still miss him. He always knew the answers to all the tough gospel questions, and no matter what I asked, I always came away with the answer I needed and so much more. There have been many times over the past few years that I wished there was phone service in heaven. My grandfather figures prominently in my childhood memories. My sister and I spent a lot of time with him. We had weekend sleepovers, hikes in the mountains, and wonderful adventures to Cedar Valley where we hiked and explored around for hours. We would always stop in the little town of Fairfield and rest in the beautiful park there. On one particular adventure we went all the way out to Mercur. I remember some sort of abandoned town or mining operation there, probably not really that impressive, but he told us all kinds of interesting facts about the things that had gone on there and we thought it was the most amazing place we had ever been. We loved those excursions! My sister recently took a trip out to Cedar Valley and called to report that there are houses everywhere and everything looks different. That made me a little sad. My grandparents lived on Millcreek Way in Salt Lake City. The creek flowed through their front yard and created a little pool area just before continuing its path down to a much more turbulent section. That pool was fresh and cool and we could go out and swim and catch water skeeters. My grandpa saw how much we enjoyed this area and since he also loved to sit and watch the creek flow by, he decided to build a bench right there under the tree. He made it from large rocks and concrete and it wrapped beautifully around the base of the tree giving plenty of room for several people. He also built a little walkway and stairs right down to the water. It was wonderful. My grandparents used to sit and watch us swim. I recently visited Utah and as usual made my way down to Millcreek Way. Although the creek bed has been replaced by a concrete culver, the bench is still intact. It makes me smile every time I see it. So many great memories. We loved to visit grandma and grandpa and as soon as we got to the house we would run to our Grandpa’s office to see what he was doing. No matter what it was, he would put it away and completely engage with us. We would pull an encyclopedia off the shelf and pick a page to read. We put his encyclopedias to good use! One of my favorite memories is of him sitting down with my own sons and reading through the encyclopedia with them. I loved that! He had a love for learning and he definitely passed it on. I am grateful to have had a grandfather that was genuinely interested in each one of his grandchildren. I always felt that he loved me and I adored him! I will miss him until the day we meet again. That will be a joyful reunion, indeed!

A Brief Tribute to Lawrence Wesley McDonald Jr.

Contributor: bwdraper Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago

A Tribute to Lawrence Wesley McDonald Jr. By Ronald F. McDonald Eleven years have passed since the death of my father. Everywhere I turn I see things that remind me of him, and I find myself wanting to thank him, which I didn't do often enough when he was with us. Toward the end of his life, it was my privilege to care for him for a time. He kept trying to pay me, but I refused money. So he gave me things, like his tools and other things he thought I would like. Every time I use one of the things he gave me, I can’t help but reflect on his life, and how unusual he was. Truly, my father was a very complex person. He was nothing like any other person I have ever known. He exhibited a few family traits, which can be identified with his ancestors on both sides, but he also had a lot of characteristics completely unique to himself. Simply said, Dad was a lot different than most other people. Dad’s uniqueness became apparent soon after birth. He was an only child, and his mother told me Dad was a sufficient handful, and they didn’t need any more children. Dad was not a bad kid, but he was a busy kid. He never rested, and he had endless energy, which lasted until old age. By age 17 he could play the piano very well by ear, having had no lessons. He could also completely overhaul a car engine, or climb to the highest peak in the mountain range east of Salt Lake City, without taking water or a lunch. He was composing music while still in high school. By age 19 he was able to hire on as a mechanic at the local Chevrolet Dealership. His mother once told me they wondered where this kid came from, and what would be next. By age 22, Dad had graduated from aircraft mechanic school, and within 5 years had become a supervisor at Hill Airforce Base, with a large crew of employees working under him. During World War II Dad served in the Merchant Marine. In less than 6 months he went from the lowest rank, to purser of the ship, and also helped with the job of ship navigator. He was something like third in command of the ship. Some of the crew members were saying it was corruption. There was no corruption; Dad was motivated, and was continually learning new things. While in port, the crew would go to town to party, but Dad stayed on the ship and studied navigation and other subjects. The Captain took a liking to him. He asked Dad if he knew who the last man to abandon ship was to be in case they were sunk by the enemy. Dad said he thought that it was the Captain. The Captain said that was correct. Then he asked Dad if he knew who the next to last man to abandon ship was. Dad didn’t know. The Captain said “it is you, you drop the secret code papers and other important things with a lead anchor, and then you are free to abandon ship just before I do.” Dad said after hearing that he started wearing two life jackets whenever there was an enemy alert. When the war ended, Dad was the absolute last man off the ship. He wrote his own final paycheck and signed it. Dad and I got along okay, but not perfectly. He thought there was only one way to do a task, and that was his way. Although his way was always better, it was a bit annoying to me. For example: I was unable to wash the car, or mow the lawn correctly. As I look back on those memories now, it is obvious his way was superior. Dad was somewhat of a perfectionist. If something had to be done, it should be done correctly. That was difficult for me, because most of the things I do end up less than perfect. Every morning Dad would be up early. The first thing he would do is wash his face in cold water. He said that was to wake up his brain and get the day off to a good start. He taught me to do it, but not long after I went out on my own I quit that practice. I preferred to wake up more slowly. 1950 was the year I became well acquainted with Dad. He bought a 480-acre farm near Monticello, Utah. He then bought a Case LAI tractor in northern Utah. Dad and I drove that tractor all 300 miles to Monticello. I had just turned 13, and that summer Dad and I lived alone in a small pup tent on the farm. We became well acquainted. During that year I learned first hand some of the unique characteristics of Dad, which I had already been somewhat aware of, but I learned them first-hand. Dad was 100% meticulously honest in all his dealings with people. He was fanatical about honesty. He was 100% converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and taking care of religious duties came before any other thing. I also learned the meaning of hard work. Prior to this, my activities included riding my bicycle, playing marbles and fishing in the ditch. The move to the farm was a whole new life for me. I learned to handle a large tractor and the equipment that it pulled, to drive a 2 ton truck, to service and repair equipment, to cut and sell cedar posts, to harvest rabbits and deer, and how to prepare and cook them, and much more. Trying to work along side Dad sometimes wore me out completely, but I loved it. I loved the good feeling inside after a hard days work. My self esteem grew tremendously that year. At the beginning of the year I was a kid who knew how to play marbles. At the end of the year I could do a man's work. There is not any amount of money I would take in exchange for that summer on the farm with Dad. Later on Dad built a 100-power telescope from scratch. It had a 10 inch lens which he ground and polished by hand. When the telescope was finished he gave it away. It might still be in use at a college in Tucson Arizona. As the years passed, Dad continued to improve himself and accomplish more difficult assignments. In Monticello Dad was hired as an automobile salesman for Redd’s General Motors Dealership. In a short time he was promoted to Sales Manager. One year he received an award from General Motors for selling more trucks than any GM salesman in the entire state of Utah, including the big dealerships in Salt Lake. Buyers flocked to him because they recognized he was totally honest with them. Dad was called on a stake mission, and soon after was put in the mission presidency. He also did a huge amount of family genealogy, and became well acquainted with his ancestors who had long since passed on. He organized the McDonald Family organization, and sponsored reunions. All of that ended after his death. It was very entertaining to go in any public place with Dad, like a store for example. He would continually start conversations and make friends with strangers. He made people feel comfortable very quickly, and could often get strangers laughing in a short time. He would cheer people up everywhere he went. Dad took excellent care of his widowed mother for many years, and was there for her to the end of her life. Toward the end she was in a nursing home. Dad was there every day. He would go in the lunchroom and play the piano, which cheered up all the residents. He would often put his mother in a wheel chair and take her for long excursions around the neighborhood. After moving back to Salt Lake City, Dad was hired by the Church as World Wide Automobile Fleet Manager. He worked there until retirement at age 65. He was also called to be bishop of his ward. After serving his term as bishop he was called to the Stake High Council, and then to be Stake Patriarch. Dad had a significant library of books, which he studied diligently. There was no fiction in his library. He became so well versed in the gospel that people would come from near and far to get help on gospel questions. He would not answer their gospel questions with opinions. He would go strait to the scriptures for the answers, or the writings of the modern prophets. Dad played the piano daily from age 13 to about 84, when paralysis began to cripple his hands. He could really make the piano swing. Dad enjoyed spending time with all his offspring, and he was always cheerful and friendly to everyone. He set a fine example for all of us, and I miss him often, but I will see him again. One can only guess what else he has accomplished since we saw him last. There is much more I could write, but I am sure Dad would say “keep it brief”.

Life timeline of Lawrence Wesley McDonald Jr

Lawrence Wesley McDonald Jr was born on 9 Mar 1918
Lawrence Wesley McDonald Jr was 10 years old when Walt Disney character Mickey Mouse premieres in his first cartoon, "Plane Crazy". Walter Elias Disney was an American entrepreneur, animator, voice actor and film producer. A pioneer of the American animation industry, he introduced several developments in the production of cartoons. As a film producer, Disney holds the record for most Academy Awards earned by an individual, having won 22 Oscars from 59 nominations. He was presented with two Golden Globe Special Achievement Awards and an Emmy Award, among other honors. Several of his films are included in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.
Lawrence Wesley McDonald Jr was 21 years old when World War II: Nazi Germany and Slovakia invade Poland, beginning the European phase of World War II. World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945, although conflicts reflecting the ideological clash between what would become the Allied and Axis blocs began earlier. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. It was the most global war in history; it directly involved more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. In a state of total war, the major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
Lawrence Wesley McDonald Jr was 27 years old when World War II: Nagasaki is devastated when an atomic bomb, Fat Man, is dropped by the United States B-29 Bockscar. Thirty-five thousand people are killed outright, including 23,200-28,200 Japanese war workers, 2,000 Korean forced workers, and 150 Japanese soldiers. Nagasaki is the capital and the largest city of Nagasaki Prefecture on the island of Kyushu in Japan. The city's name, 長崎, means "long cape" in Japanese. Nagasaki became a centre of colonial Portuguese and Dutch influence in the 16th through 19th centuries, and the Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region have been recognized and included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Part of Nagasaki was home to a major Imperial Japanese Navy base during the First Sino-Japanese War and Russo-Japanese War.
Lawrence Wesley McDonald Jr was 40 years old when Space Race: Launch of Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth. The Space Race refers to the 20th-century competition between two Cold War rivals, the Soviet Union (USSR) and the United States (US), for dominance in spaceflight capability. It had its origins in the missile-based nuclear arms race between the two nations that occurred following World War II, aided by captured German missile technology and personnel from the Aggregat program. The technological superiority required for such dominance was seen as necessary for national security, and symbolic of ideological superiority. The Space Race spawned pioneering efforts to launch artificial satellites, uncrewed space probes of the Moon, Venus, and Mars, and human spaceflight in low Earth orbit and to the Moon.
Lawrence Wesley McDonald Jr was 46 years old when The Beatles make their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, performing before a "record-busting" audience of 73 million viewers across the USA. The Beatles were an English rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. With members John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, they became widely regarded as the foremost and most influential music band in history. Rooted in skiffle, beat and 1950s rock and roll, the Beatles later experimented with several musical styles, ranging from pop ballads and Indian music to psychedelia and hard rock, often incorporating classical elements and unconventional recording techniques in innovative ways. In 1963, their enormous popularity first emerged as "Beatlemania"; as the group's music grew in sophistication, led by primary songwriters Lennon and McCartney, the band were integral to pop music's evolution into an art form and to the development of the counterculture of the 1960s.
Lawrence Wesley McDonald Jr was 59 years old when Star Wars is released in theaters. Star Wars is a 1977 American epic space opera film written and directed by George Lucas. It is the first film in the original Star Wars trilogy and the beginning of the Star Wars franchise. Starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, David Prowse, James Earl Jones, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, and Peter Mayhew, the film focuses on the Rebel Alliance, led by Princess Leia (Fisher), and its attempt to destroy the Galactic Empire's space station, the Death Star.
Lawrence Wesley McDonald Jr was 62 years old when Mount St. Helens erupts in Washington, United States, killing 57 people and causing $3 billion in damage. Mount St. Helens or Louwala-Clough is an active stratovolcano located in Skamania County, Washington, in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is 50 miles (80 km) northeast of Portland, Oregon and 96 miles (154 km) south of Seattle, Washington. Mount St. Helens takes its English name from the British diplomat Lord St Helens, a friend of explorer George Vancouver who made a survey of the area in the late 18th century. The volcano is located in the Cascade Range and is part of the Cascade Volcanic Arc, a segment of the Pacific Ring of Fire that includes over 160 active volcanoes. This volcano is well known for its ash explosions and pyroclastic flows.
Lawrence Wesley McDonald Jr was 76 years old when The Rwandan genocide begins when the aircraft carrying Rwandan president Juvénal Habyarimana and Burundian president Cyprien Ntaryamira is shot down. The Rwandan genocide, also known as the genocide against the Tutsi, was a genocidal mass slaughter of Tutsi in Rwanda by members of the Hutu majority government. An estimated 500,000 to 1,000,000 Rwandans were killed during the 100-day period from 7 April to mid-July 1994, constituting as many as 70% of the Tutsi population. Additionally, 30% of the Pygmy Batwa were killed. The genocide and widespread slaughter of Rwandans ended when the Tutsi-backed and heavily armed Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) led by Paul Kagame took control of the country. An estimated 2,000,000 Rwandans, mostly Hutus, were displaced and became refugees.
Lawrence Wesley McDonald Jr died on 21 Dec 2004 at the age of 86
Grave record for Lawrence Wesley McDonald Jr (9 Mar 1918 - 21 Dec 2004), BillionGraves Record 1882034 Monticello, San Juan, Utah, United States