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Jean  Katherine MacDonald

Obituary for Jean Katherine MacDonald

August 2, 1930 - June 19, 2020
Menlo Park, California | Age 89


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.

Suggested Memorial Donations

  • In lieu of flowers and if you are so inclined, donations can be made to Little House in Menlo Park. Please make sure to use the drop down under 'Program Designation; on the website to donate to Little House specifically.
  • Little House
    800 Middle Avenue
    Menlo Park, CA 94025

Message from the Family

Thank you for your support during this difficult time.
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Arrangements By

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

2 Park Road
Burlingame, CA 94010
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