Dr. Austin John Macdonald was born on the 2nd of February, 1920, in Mulgrave, Nova Scotia. His parents were Sylvester “Mark” Macdonald and the former Mary McPherson. He was the eldest of 4 children. His siblings were; Douglas (Executive Director of the Donwood Foundation, Toronto and an anesthesiologist in Michigan), Connie and Zeta.
He was educated in Mulgrave and attended university at an early age. He graduated B.Sc. from St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, in 1937. Dr. Macdonald entered McGill University in Montreal to study medicine in 1940. He did graduate research with Hans Selye who pioneered studies on the negative effects of stress and studied under Dr. Ewen Cameron, the father of psychiatry. He graduated M.D. in 1944.
Dr. Macdonald served with the R.C.N.V.R from 1944-1946.
He married Helen “Elizabeth” O’Meara in Victoria, B.C. in 1945. Mrs. Macdonald was born in Ottawa on the 13th of April, 1922. She was the eldest of 4 children born to Basil “Baz” O’Meara and the former Helen Margaret Gleason of Montreal. Baz O’Meara was the famous sports reporter for the Montreal Star who nick-named Maurice Richard, the “Rocket”.
After his discharge from the Navy, Dr. Macdonald did post-graduate studies for two years at Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal. Dr. and Mrs. Macdonald settled in Chatham in 1948 where he was a junior partner with Dr. Martin for two years. He then opened his own practice across the street and was the Physician for the Ursuline Sisters at the Pines Convent for many years. Dr. Macdonald migrated to 232 St. Clair Street, where he saw up to 75 patients a day, until 1970.
In his spare time, Dr. Macdonald was an avid builder and operator of powerboats. He played the saxophone, he enjoyed photography and he was a member of the Kent Club. He read widely in medicine, history, philosophy, hypnosis, anthropology and religion. He was a Director with the Canadian Mental Health Association for Chatham and he counselled patients from his home office.
Dr. and Mrs. Macdonald lived at 37 Gregory Drive with their five children: Mark (University Professor), Shawn (Social Worker), Jill (Business Administrator), Scott (Retired Telephone Technician) and Brooke (Videographer).
Dr. and Mrs. Macdonald moved to San Diego, California in 1970. Dr. Alfred A. Trinca, took over his medical practice in January of 1971. (Mrs. Trinca is a second cousin to Dr. Macdonald.) Dr. Macdonald continued to practice medicine in California and he was the Company Physician for American Airlines for many years. While living in San Diego, Dr. and Mrs. Macdonald separated and divorced. Both subsequently married other spouses.
Dr. Macdonald retired and moved to Malahat Trail on Vancouver Island in 1983. Dr. Macdonald died on the 7th of April, 1993. His second wife Gretchen, survived him.
His first wife, Mrs. Elizabeth Helen (O’Meara) (Macdonald) Leslie died on the 9th of November, 2014. She was buried at Miramar National Cemetery in San Diego, California.
*Dr. Alfred Agostino Trinca also appears on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website.