Don MacDonald: A holistic, lifelong learner and educator
ON MAY 29, 2021, DONALD “DON” MACDONALD, professor emeritus of marriage and family therapy, died due to end-stage liver disease, including liver cancer. He was 71 years old.
A consummate educator, MacDonald taught not only in SPU’s School of Psychology, Family, and Community, but also in Seattle elementary schools, at Nanjing University’s Beijing Medical School, at Alliance Theological Seminary in the Philippines, and in Michigan migrant camps. He was also a visiting scholar at York St. John University in the United Kingdom. He retired from SPU in 2007 after 40 years.
Born in Dowagiac, Michigan, MacDonald received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas, a master’s degree from Indiana State University, and a doctorate from Michigan State University.
In the mid-1970s, he taught at Shelton Elementary School in Kenmore, Washington. He also worked as an SPU coordinator of residence counseling. In 1980, he joined Seattle Pacific as a faculty member, first as
a professor of counseling, and later as a professor of marriage and family therapy.
After the death of his first wife, Connie Kjellberg, MacDonald married GINGER PHILLIPS COLLAR ’74, MS ’82 in 1981. They each had a son from first marriages and welcomed a third son in 1985.
MacDonald studied and wrote about the intersection of psychology, philosophy, and theology. He brought an understanding of worldviews and systemic thinking to his graduate students, and he mentored and supported their academic, personal, and spiritual growth.
Outside of the classroom, MacDonald enjoyed hiking and sharing adventures with his family. He loved music, including ’60s and ’70s rock, Celtic ballads, and hymns. A devoted Christian, MacDonald belonged to several evangelical congregations over the years.
MacDonald is survived by his wife, Ginger; three sons, including JEFF BRUMLEY ’98; four grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; a sister and brother; and many nieces and nephews.