Swan Thomas McDonald III

Born: Fri., Dec. 16, 1932
Died: Tue., Sep. 18, 2018


Funeral Service

11:00 AM Mon., Sep. 24, 2018
Location: Mission Valley United Methodist Church


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  Dr.  Swan Thomas McDonald III passed away peacefully, to be with the lord, at his home in Ronan September 18th 2018, surrounded by family.  He was 85

  Dad was born December 16, 1932 to Mary Elisabeth McDonald (Boucher) and Swan Thomas McDonald II in Moberly Missouri.  They lived in Missouri until Toms was 6, when they moved several times and then settled in Edmonds Washington where he went to High School. He lettered 4 years in baseball and 2 years in football and he was class president his senior year.  He was offered a baseball scholarship at the University of Washington but his dad was being transferred to Denver so he enrolled at the University of Denver. 

  He attended the University of Denver Medical School and was elected Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA).  In medical school he met and married Margaret Ann Stearns on March 16th 1956.  While living in Denver their first child Kimberly Ann McDonald was born January 3rd 1957.  After finishing medical school he completed his internship in Detroit Mi.  The family then moved to Great Falls, MT where he completed a surgical fellowship.  Their second child Terry Lee McDonald was born in Great Falls, December 28, 1958. Dad was offered multiple positions, mostly in eastern Montana, but after driving over Ravalli hill and seeing the Mission Mountains, he decided to more to Ronan.  They had two more children in Ronan, Swam Thomas McDonald IV, October 22nd 1960 and Kristi Ann McDonald July 12th 1965.

  Dad started his practice in the Old Sterling Hotel in Ronan with the family living in one side of the building and his office in the other side.  After several years the build a home and started a small ranch northwest of Ronan where they raised Arabian horses and cattle.  In the late 70’s he designed and built his own medical clinic next to St Luke hospital.  In 1987 Mom died after battling leukemia.

  In 1988 Dad married Shirley Wall and was blessed with a loving extended family of nieces and nephews plus a truly amazing sister in law, Dot Bocksnick.

  In 40 years of practice in Ronan, many years with his partner and friend Dr. Jay T Ballhagen, Dad took care of thousands of patients and delivered over 3500 babies.  He commented often about the wonderful doctors, nurses and other medical personnel that he worked with over the years.  At his retirement in 1999 he stated that his patients had given him way more than he could give them in return.

  Dad loved to hunt and fish from the time he was a little boy.  He passed that love on to all his children and grandchildren.  (There are a lot of fish stories at our house).   At age 6 he was hunting squirrels and fishing for catfish in Mississippi. He spent years fishing and trapping on Lake Ballinger, in Washington.  He hunted and fished all over the country but of all great adventures he said his month long safari in Africa and the greatest thing ever.  A few months ago Dad said “I can sit back and remember almost every day of that trip”

  Dad had so many interests that he pursued over the years including rodeo, roping, training horses, gardening, snowmobiling, skiing, gunsmithing,  fly tying, skeet shooting, sporting clay, golfing, baking bread, training dogs,  and he did everything all out!  He was a member of the AMA (American Medical Association), the United Methodist Church, and a lifetime member of the NRA.

  Recently Dad was asked if he had a bucket list.  He thought for a minute and said “Its empty because I was blessed to do everything I ever dreamed of”.

  Dad is survived by his loving wife Shirley of nearly 30 years, four children: Kim Palmer (Tom  Mitchell), Terry McDonald (Cindy Bartling), Tom (Karen) McDonald, Kris (Dave) Joachim,  his sweet little black lab Sadie, his faithful friend Jesse. Five grandchildren: Brian (Sue) Palmer, Caysie Palmer, Stacy (Cory) Palm, Nichole (Andrew) Bemis, Swan Thomas McDonald V. Eight Great Grandchildren:  Billy andf Tori Palmer, Bayliegh Palmer, Olyvia Palmer, Caitlyn Palm, Jayden Palm, Brody and Aria Bemis.

  We would like to give a very special thanks to the Providence Cancer Center, Dr. Sarah Scott, Dr. Michael Snyder, Dr. Margie Menendez and their staff. Dr. Cullis and all the doctors and staff at St Luke Hospital, Dr. George Reed and Dr George Bandow, you all gave Dad the best care possible.  We would also like to thank our wonderful Pastor, Derf Bergman and the entire Methodist church family for all the love and support.

  The celebration of life will be Monday September 24th, 11 am, at the Mission Valley Methodist Church with a reception dinner to follow at the Ronan Community Center.

  Memorials can be made to the Mission Valley United Methodist Church and the St Luke Community Hospital.

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Condolence Booklet

Shelley Sagmiller Mills
   Posted Wed September 19, 2018
I'm so very sorry to hear of Doc's passing. He was probably the first person I ever saw - since he delivered me in June of 1963. He has been a lifelong family friend. Doc would come out to Eastern Montana to pheasant hunt with my father - Ken Sagmiller, nearly every fall after I moved here. We would have the best time hunting, eating great food, and visiting. I have so missed seeing Doc since my father passed fifteen years ago and the trips ceased. I wish he would have continued to come to visit - he was such a wonderful person and a dear friend. I will miss him greatly. My heart goes out to his family and friends. This world is a much poorer place without him in our lives. Love and hugs, Shelley

Deb & Jack May
   Posted Wed September 19, 2018
Our thoughts and prayers are with Shirley and all of the McDonald family at this time of loss. Doc was a very special man and will be greatly missed.

Bruce & Sharon Simpson
   Posted Thu September 20, 2018
Doc certainly made the world a better place - he will be greatly missed.

May all the wonderful "Doc" stories and memories give you comfort.

Thinking of all of you in friendship and love.

Marlene (Cisney)Mamolen
   Posted Thu September 20, 2018
Thoughts and prayers for his family. Remember him so well, a big influence on my decision to move up the nursing chain for patient care.

Tom and Kathy Teegarden
   Posted Thu September 20, 2018
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Shirley and the entire McDonald Family.
"Doc" touched so many people's lives over the years and we thank you, his Family, for sharing him with us. šŸ™šŸ»šŸ’ž

Donna Bennett
   Posted Thu September 20, 2018
So sorry, he was more then a Dr in our valley, he was a friend to so many.Thoughts & prayers to his family.

Tom & Kathy (Webster) Teegarden
   Posted Thu September 20, 2018
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Shirley and the entire McDonald Family.
"Doc" touched so many people's lives over the years and we thank you, his Family, for sharing him with us. šŸ™šŸ»šŸ’ž

Cindy Skogen Dell
   Posted Thu September 20, 2018
My mom Patsy worked for Dr. McDonald for quite a few years, and her memories of the office and Doc were some of the best of her life. He was a kind and gentle soul, and I am so sad at his passing.

LORRIE J GORDON
   Posted Fri September 21, 2018
Thoughts and Prayers to the family. Your hearts will be full of great memories! Such a nice person!!

Mary Erickson Currie
   Posted Fri September 21, 2018
Dr. McDonald was a kind the thoughtful man. May he rest in peace.

Agnes S Stipe
   Posted Fri September 21, 2018
Our thoughts are with the entire McDonald clan at this time of Doc's departure. Such a kind wonderful human that we trusted so many years of taking care of all of us in the valley. I pray that the family knows how important your family is to us.

Percella Jane Tougas
   Posted Sat September 22, 2018
Pat and I have many warm feelings of respect and admiration for a wonderful Doctor and person. Healing blessings for all of his family,may your wonderful memories help in this difficult time. Pat and Jane Tougas

Leon n Nancy Grant
   Posted Sat September 22, 2018
We are sorry to hear of the passing of one of the most caring and compassionate doctor. Are condolences go out to his family.

Tommy Veltri
   Posted Sat September 22, 2018
To my dear friend Tom Iā€™m sorry for your loss. Keeping you in my prayers. Sincere Condolences! Your West Virginia friends Tommy and Gina Veltri

Charlotte Sheumaker
   Posted Sun September 23, 2018
So very sorry Shirley and family. A man that has always been the beating heart of OUR family. Always called doctor Mac at our home for over fifty years. The kindest and most admired doctor and friend. Fabulous memories over the years, everything from being treated at three different offices over the years, at his home, and at the hospital. It is not like that anymore. Rembering the old hitching post, him walking the hospital floor with me through the night, watching Homecoming with me an hour after he delivered my daughter for a mere $350.00 in those days. The memory of our daughter telling everyone she was born at McDonalds! Love to the whole family! Prayers for all, as I know he will be waiting in the front row in heaven!

Robert and Marie-Anne king
   Posted Mon September 24, 2018
Our thoughts are with all his families and friends. He was a wonderful doctor and hunter.

Tom Baumgartner
   Posted Tue September 25, 2018
Tom McDonald was one of best doctors I knew. He was highly skilled, smart and kind. We will miss him.

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