For nearly 50 years this tiny “lady” worked behind the scenes in Ripon until she quietly passed away last week at 91.
It was my privilege to get to see her at her home just a few days before her passing. I got the chance to joke with her a little that brought out that familiar ear-to-ear smile of hers. That smile was truly “Spud”.
In her recent years “Spud” MacDonald would often be seen walking home from the grocery store with heavy bags of groceries at her side — not wasting money on gas — in the community she loved and where she and her late husband Barney had six children, all boys.
Husband Barney passed away in 2001 bringing sadness into her life. The 51-year Ripon resident lived for her boys and their families enjoying her many grandchildren and great grandchildren.
I often spotted Spud walking the two miles toward her home just about every time I drove through town in the middle of any weekday. I would make a U-turn and she would tell me that she was OK and didn’t need a ride — saying she was fine — except in the heat of the summer and in recent months. It didn’t take much coaxing though to get her in the car as we headed for her house.
Spud would take a two mile walk around town most mornings and often with her long time neighbor Joan Azevedo who lived across the street. They were always chatting about their families and what was going on in Ripon.
Celebrating her 90th birthday last year, she led 90 of her family and friends on her usual two mile trek around the community that ended with a party in her honor.
Over the years Spud became an important fixture at Ripon High School sporting events in support of her five boys along with other RHS athletes. Her late husband was a high school coach.
The late Barney MacDonald was a World War II naval aviator before they were married in 1946. Spud was a part time worker at the Ripon Record newspaper for Leo and Betty McBrin and at the Franzia Winery wine tasting room on East Highway 120.
She was a faithful member of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church also located on East Highway 120. Not wanting to see her drive on the highway, neighbors Joe and Joan Azevedo would take her with them.
A vigil and rosary will be held on Thursday, May 12, at 6 p.m. at St. Patrick’s Church. A mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, May 13, at 11:30 a.m. followed by a reception and celebration of her life at Spring Creek Country Club in Ripon at 1 p.m.
It was an honor for me to be to be considered her friend. Spud was an inspiration.
To contact Glenn Kahl, email email@example.com.