William Nial MacDonald

August 24, 1912 ‒ September 14, 2001

Mansfield, Ohio

MANSFIELD: William Nial MacDonald, Jr., 89, of South Trimble Road, Mansfield, died Friday morning September 14, 2001 following a short illness.

He was born in Jackson, Ohio on August 24, 1912. He was the son of William Nial MacDonald and Martha Rice. He had one brother, Chester and one sister, Esther both who are deceased. A graduate of Jackson High School, Mac attended Ohio Wesleyan University and was a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity. It was there that he met and later married Carolyn Clingerman. They were married in 1936 and she died in 1985.

Mac served in World War II as a lieutenant in the US Navy from 1943 until 1945. He returned to Jackson where he was group administrator in engineering and sales and associated with research and development of special products at the Mead Corporation. In 1953 he and his family moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan where he was administrative director of the University of Michigan Willow Run Laboratories. While with the University he was a research engineer, administrative head of the Radar Department and head of the Wolverine Summer Study. In 1956 he joined the Bendix Aerospace Systems Division of the Bendix Corporation in Ann Arbor as an executive in charge of building the new facilities there. The Division developed and built many of the scientific experiments which early astronauts placed on the Moon during the Apollo Program.

In 1967 he was named the executive assistant to the general manager of the Bendix Launch Support Division of the Bendix Corporation at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Bendix was responsible for the operation and maintenance of the giant crawler which transported the Saturn V rocket to the launch pad prior to launch for the historic lunar landings. He remained in Florida after his retirement. He moved to Mansfield, Ohio in 1999 and resided at Wedgewood Estates.

Over the years, “Mr. Mac” was deeply involved in many civic activities in every community in which he lived. In Ann Arbor he was President of the Rotary Club, president of the Ann Arbor Chamber of Commerce, president of the Ann Arbor United Fund and was active in the Masonic Lodge. In Titusville he was active in the Titusville Area Chamber of Commerce, the Indian River Festival, and Twosday-Tuesday and luncheon meetings. Around the chamber office he was known as “Mr. Fixit” and could be depended on to remedy most any situation.

He joined the Titusville Rotary Club in 1978 and was a driving force behind Rotary Against Illegal Drugs (RAID) that has become a widespread program adopted by police departments and city governments. He took a leadership role in the club’s homebuilding project to raise money for Rotary International’s Polio Plus program, as well as the club’s building a Habitat for Humanity home. For more than 28 years he delivered Meals on Wheels to shut-ins. He received the Rotary’s distinguished Paul Harris Award and as a Benefactor to the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International helped extend its educational and charitable programs to needy people throughout the world.

Mac was happiest working in his woodworking shop or building and operating model railroad layouts. He was an avid sailor and enjoyed sailing with family and friends. He is a member of the First Congregational Church of Mansfield, Ohio and an Associate member of the Center Harbor Congregational Church in Center Harbor, New Hampshire.

He is survived by three children. Penelope Griffin and her husband Joe live in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Martha Carol O’Mara and her husband Daniel live in Mansfield, Ohio. His son, William Nial MacDonald III, and his wife Becky live in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He is also survived by four grandchildren, Erin Johnson of Brinkhaven, Ohio, Kelly Hadacek of Powell, Ohio and William Nial MacDonald IV and John MacDonald of Colorado Springs, Colorado.

A memorial service will be held Monday September 17, 2001 at 1:30 pm in the chapel of First Congregational Church, 640 Millsboro Road, with the Rev. Clifford D. Schutjer officiating. The family will receive friends in the church parlor immediately following the service. The Lexington Avenue Snyder Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Memorial contributions may be directed to the Alzheimer’s Association or the American Red Cross.