Jean Katherine MacDonald

  • Born: August 2, 1930
  • Died: June 19, 2020
  • Location: Menlo Park, California

Crosby-N. Gray & Co. - FD-96

2 Park Road
Burlingame, CA 94010

Tel. (650) 342-6617

Tribute & Message From The Family

Message From The Family

Thank you for your support during this difficult time. Please enhance this tribute to Jean by adding your memories and photos.

Our dear, beautiful, devoted, and loving mother peacefully left her family and friends on June 19th, 2020 after a brief illness.

She was a strong, independent, feisty, adventuresome soul who was born in Winona MN, to a fiercely independent, strong, creative, amazing mother and a sweet, loving, handy, go-to problem solver father. She graduated from college with a BA degree in art history and immediately went to work as a teacher so she could save all her money for an extended trip to post-war Europe in the early 50's. She arrived just after the coronation of Queen Elizabeth – London at that time was a vivid memory for her. She came back to the states and again, bravely took her adventurous spirit to San Francisco California. She made a life in the Bay Area, getting her first job at the Emporium department store on Market St. in San Francisco, in the display department. After a friend backed out of attending a cocktail party, she went by herself, meeting our father, who was then attending Hastings College of the Law. They married, and in short order, began having 4 adorable daughters.

Our mother had a lifelong love of the arts, exposing all of her daughters to the amazingly beautiful things in life. She was a docent at the DeYoung Museum and the Palace of the Legion of Honor. Early memories are of trips to the museum and her educating us on all the incredible artifacts and artworks. Avid travelers, she and our father were some of the first people allowed to enter both Russia and China when they opened to tourism in the 1970s. They traveled frequently, experienced marvelous sights, meals, and shopping, and as we all grew older, they took us along with them, visiting most of Europe and other destinations.

She began a long and successful career in Real Estate in the 1970s, working well into her mid-80s. Even as she got older, she loved to go on the Tuesday tour with her friends to see what was on the market. She loved shopping, was very savvy with a great deal and was a talented personal shopper for her girls and their friends.

In her later years, she volunteered at Filoli in Woodside because she loved the house and gardens which coincided with her love of growing and sharing beautiful roses from her townhome garden. She made friends easily as she was always interested in others and their stories as well as had good stories to tell herself. She was very healthy, active, and curious up to the end.

Most of all, she loved spending time with her family and loyal, devoted friends and she will be desperately missed. She is survived by her four daughters; Lisa, Amy, Kathryn, and Johanna, her son- in- law Stephen, her two grandchildren Stephanie and Julian, her sister Pat Clark and her many nieces and nephews. We love and miss you Mom.

In lieu of flowers and if you are so inclined, donations can be made to Little House in Menlo Park. Our mother derived so much enjoyment at the facility through social gatherings and games, exercise and wonderful food. The organization provides great support for seniors. Please go to the website at and select 'Little House' under the 'Program Destination' drop down.

Condolence & Memory Journal

Dear "Little Women" - ( I'll always think of you that way)

I'm so saddened, and especially to learn so belatedly of your mother's passing. Our friendship goes back over eighty years, and I shall miss her more than I can adequately say. With love and sympathy to you all,

Posted by Marilyn Gates - Sausalito, CA - Friend   July 31, 2020

Jean and I grew up together in Winona, Minnesota...a lovely town of about 25,000 on the banks of the Mississippi River with a lake on the other side. Idyllic. We graduated from high school together (she always was so good about saving seats for us at basketball games because she lived just across the street)
After we had both finished college and she had also moved to San Francisco we saw each other more frequently again, especially when we were both working at The Emporium downtown (she in Display on the 6th floor and I in Advertising on the 7th). We often lunched together, and I remember well when she told me about meeting your father-to-be. Then, after we both married and she moved down the Peninsula and I to Marin we seemed to drift apart again...except for occasional phone calls or meeting when another Winonan was visiting SF. As we grew older the calls became more frequent and much chattier...and I know I shall miss hearing from her or being able to call her. Should any (or all) of you ever come to Sausalito I'd be happy to have you visit. (you probably can find me in her phone book.) love, Marilyn (or Mardi) Gates

Posted by Narilyn Gates - Sausalito, CA - Friend   July 31, 2020

I always enjoyed running into your mom. It happened several times...once at the Legion of Honor when she was with Kathy enjoying the special exhibit and several other times while shopping. We always had engaging conversations where we shared thoughts with one another. I and am blessed to be close friends with her daughter Kathy for many years. May your mom's memory be a blessing.

Posted by Bruce Colton - SAN FRANCISCO, CA - Acquaintance   July 23, 2020

Jean and I both volunteered on the Art Committee at Filoli...I loved her quick wit, knowledge of art and most of all her kindness. Diane wasson

Posted by Diane Wasson - Belmont, CA - Friend   July 13, 2020

I only knew Jean for a brief time, but she was such an inspiration! So full of life, and knowledge. I always looked forward to her calls as you could just hear the smile in her voice. She will truly be missed.

Posted by Susie with First Equity Property Mgmt Mgmt - Belmont, CA - Acquaintance   July 10, 2020

Family Album

Family Album

Family Album