It is with tremendous sadness that we, the family of Winifred Jeanette MacDonald, announce her passing after a very short but courageous battle with cancer. Mom passed away at home in the evening of January 11th, 2020 with her family by her side. Mom was born on November 17th, 1934 in Sydney, Nova Scotia to the late Archibald and Ethel (Bartlett) MacDonald.
For all who knew her, she was known as “Winnie”. Mom lived the majority of her life in our family home in Ironville, Cape Breton. She attended Holy Angels High School in Sydney and followed with teacher’s college in Truro. Mom taught for several years and worked in several schools over those years. She had a special flair for her years spent working with adults with learning disabilities at the adult training centre in North Sydney. As she and our father Lloyd raised 12 children, she had a hunger for even more education. She attended CBU part time over the course of 20 years and received a Bachelor’s of Arts with a Major in History. Her passion for folklore and history was unquenchable. As her children grew and left the nest, it allowed her the time to nurture her passion. Mom was an accomplished musician, playing in her family band “Scumalash”. The band toured in several locations across the UK. She was an avid singer, organist and devoted community worker. She was a Choir Director for two parishes for more than 45 years.
She met our father Lloyd and married in 1956 in Sydney, NS. They tackled their life together as a team and raised 12 children.
It is difficult to describe this consummate Lady. She was a devout Catholic and felt a strong connection to Saint Theresa. This devotion never waivered. This faith, shared with our father, carried her through some joyous and heartbreaking times but only served to make her stronger. Mom was our champion. She had instincts with her family that no one could surpass. Regardless of her workload and with a husband often forced away to make a living, she pushed through when sickness and poor health were looming within our family. She often shared our burdens despite being a tiny woman in stature. She made things happen.
She approached every person in her life whether they were a stranger, a friend or family with an open heart ready to take them in. Warm, generous, calm, caring, and compassionate. These words embodied her. Her passion for others whether they were sick or homeless was breathtaking. She led by example. It is difficult to imagine our lives without her. Her humbleness was a lesson for all of us. A fierce warrior who loved unconditionally. Forgiveness and peace was her passion and her family will continue her path.
Besides her parents, Ethel and Archibald MacDonald, Mom was predeceased by her husband Lloyd and their son Patrick. She is survived by her sons Jim (Joan), Chris (Judy), Paul, Michael (Taunia), Ron (Julia), Mark (Erin), Shawn (Charlotte), Dan (Jen), Martin (Kristen) and her daughters Annie (Brian) Penney and Sandi MacDonald (Lloyd Morrison); her grandchildren and great grandchildren Ryan (Jenn), Alexa, Kristin (David), Nicholas, Jennifer (Darcy), Michael, Michelle, Victoria, Madison, Ashley, Allissa, Dylan, Connor, Alex, Sam, Ryan, Moira, Kelsey, Shara, Sylvia, Jerome and Frances.
She is also survived by her siblings Ann (Archie) Thomas, Jane (Jack) Snow, Sandy (Helen) MacDonald, John (Ann) MacDonald and Patsy (Rod) MacMullin, and a number of nieces and nephews.
One of her children wrote the following:
Our mom had 12 children – think about it, 12 times finding out you’re having a baby.
Our mom had 12 not so easy deliveries and remember as each baby is born, there were more babies at home needing her care.
Our mom had the majority of those babies in cloth diapers.
Our mom had 7 baby boys before the two girls were born
Our mom had 3 more boys after her girls.
Our mom had the last two boys in her 40’s.
Our mom raised all those children with our dad gone much of the time in order to provide for those babies.
The first seven years of having babies she also had our dad’s foster mom living with them.
Our mom was a teacher of special needs adults.
Our mom was a musician.
Our mom was great cook.
Our mom loved directing the choir
Our mom got her degree while raising children.
Our mom entertained so many people to help with dad’s passion for fiddle music.
Our mom was our dad’s perfect complement.
Our mom laughed at every joke my dad made even if they were told over and over.
Our mom was a “TERRIBLE DRIVER”.
Our mom was an advocate for education and some of us really needed her for that.
Our mom was kind to the homeless
Our mom was a baby whisperer.
Our mom loved research
Our mom loved each and every one of us in different ways
Our mom was artistic
Our mom was a reluctant farmer and gardener.
Our mom was talented
Our mom was kind
Our mom LOVED GOD
Our mom was our mom!
Cremation has taken place. There will be a small family funeral service to celebrate her life on Tuesday January 14, 2020 in the W.J. Dooley Funeral Home, 107 Pleasant Street, North Sydney.
At mom’s request, memorial donations can be made to the following: IWK Children’s Health Foundation, Little Flower Orphanage, and Loaves and Fishes in Sydney.
As her health rapidly declined, her faith and her family carried her across the finish line. It is our comfort to know that she is back with her husband, her parents and her son.
“Mom, you left us beautiful memories, and yours and Dad’s love will be our guide. Although we cannot see you, you are always by our side. You are our BRAVEHEART.
Rest easy now mom, we’ve got this. Let us carry you.”
To send flowers to Winifred's family, please visit our floral section.