Tuesday, February 21, 2017
5:00 PM to 8:00 PM EST
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Alt & Shawmut Chapel
2120 Lake Michigan Dr., N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
The rosary will be prayed at the funeral home Tuesday evening at 7:30 pm.
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
VanAndel Institute for Cancer Research
33 Bostwick NE
Grand Rapids, MI
Life Story / Obituary
With a life that was committed to her husband, her children and their families, volunteering at hospitals and the Catholic Church, Connie will always be remembered with great love. She shared a passion for life through her ability to be ever patient, kind and unselfish while maintaining a keen sense of humor and an unwavering support system for her family. Her young at heart spirit and faith filled journey through life will not be forgotten.
1936: A year in which many firsts occurred – the helicopter took flight and an artificial heart was developed; it was a year to remember. Franklin Roosevelt was reelected to a second term as President, ‘Gone With the Wind' was published, and the Hoover Dam was completed. Internationally it was a tumultuous time with many conflicts abroad and domestically the Great Depression lingered. But in Jersey City, New Jersey a brighter day dawned on October 2nd, as Thomas and Annie Moran were given a wonderful gift of life with the birth of their daughter, Cornelia Marie.
Connie, as she was lovingly called, was the second of four children born to Irish immigrants. Along with her parents and her brothers Tom, John and Jimmy, the family was true to their religious beliefs, firmly rooted in St. Aloysius Catholic Church where Connie would attend elementary through high school. The family's faith in God and mornings spent at Sunday Mass helped create strong family bonds. When her brother Jimmy passed away at age 9, her family and friends offered much needed support.
As her life journey continued through young adulthood, Connie made a name for herself playing basketball and was known to beat the boys in track and field. In her 8th grade year, she found the love of her life in a neighborhood boy named Donald MacDonald. She graduated high school in 1954 and quickly found employment with Western Electric, working in the office and as an operator for five years.
Connie & Don married on April 21, 1957 at St. Aloysius Catholic Church in Jersey City, NJ, the same church her family attended their entire life. A memorable reception was celebrated, and the newlyweds honeymooned in New York City. Connie & Don's first home together was an apartment in Jersey City. Connie continued to work at Western Electric, supporting both of them while Don completed college. They raised a family of six children who were, from the start, the love of Connie's life. Eventually, Don's career opened an opportunity to move to Cascade, Michigan where the family settled in, continuing their faith life by joining St. Robert of Newminster Catholic Church in nearby Ada.
The MacDonald family created memories to last a lifetime while vacationing at their cottage in Traverse City. On Long Lake, many summers were spent boating, swimming and enjoying family time by the water. Other vacation opportunities helped grow stronger bonds: time spent on Long Beach Island on the Jersey Shore, motorhome trips to Mackinac Island, Wilderness State Park, and through Pennsylvania all while in the close quarters of eight people.
Connie's children kept her very busy, but she never missed important events while also providing a stable home life for the whole family. She proved to be ‘the best mom ever' involving herself in many aspects of their school lives, from classroom volunteering, to working in the library and acting as chaperone for field trips. For the kids, Connie celebrated her Irish Heritage by making corned beef, cabbage, soda bread and green food-colored milk each St. Patrick's Day. She was always a creative cook and found ways to make delicious meals around even the craziest of family schedules.
As time progressed and Connie's joys and duties of motherhood eased, and her enjoyment as a grandmother began to increase. Over the next 24+ years Connie bacame a 'Gramma' to 14 grand children and one great grand child. In between the enjoyment of her children and grand children she found ways to continue her service to others. She did much volunteering work at St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Rapids in patient recovery and Booth Memorial Hospital for unwed mothers. In addition, she worked on the Tel-A-Nurse phone line. When she wasn't volunteering, she could be found watching home improvement shows and listening to music of all kinds after her many daily chores were completed. She also enjoyed her collections of Christmas angels and ceramic owls. Connie's natural creative abilities were one of her greatest passions; she took art classes herself, and encouraged her grandchildren to explore their own abilities. She leaves behind many beautiful sketches, watercolor paintings, and calligraphy work.
Later in life, Connie learned of a sister born and living in Ireland. Since family was of greatest importance to her, she traveled to County Galway, Ireland several times to visit and get to know her sister Maureen and Maureen's family.
While there were quality times spent with grandchildren on birthdays or special occasions and time spent sharing her love of art with them, harder times weighed in as well. Connie survived cancer in 2008 and heart ailments in 2011. Shortly after, in 2013, Don and Connie moved to Covenant Village of the Great Lakes in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In this senior living community, they rekindled old friendships and developed new ones while Connie took advantage of the art classes and continued her love for volunteer work by helping at the community's Second Blessing Thrift Shop, a program designed to help others in need, while ensuring that retirees' donations go to good homes.
Months before her cancer diagnosis Connie quietly realized her life was changing and as it was in her nature to not burden others, she chose to keep her fate and potential illness quiet to save her family the weight of such hard news. She shared this burden with her family and close friends, but chose not to talk of it broadly.
In the fall of 2016, Connie was diagnosed with stomach cancer. She was placed under hospice care in December and with her children providing support and love were with her in her final days.
On the morning of Wednesday, February 15, with her husband by her side she passed into eternal life.
She leaves behind boundless love for family and friends, the beauty in her artwork and a lifetime of wisdom. She will be lovingly remembered, deeply missed and openly welcomed to heaven.
Cornelia Marie ”Connie” MacDonald, aged 80 of Grand Rapids, formerly of Jersey City, New Jersey, passed away at her home, on Wednesday, February 15, 2017, with her loving family at her side. She was preceded in death by her parents, Thomas and Annie Spencer Moran and her brother, Jimmy Moran. She is survived by her husband of nearly 60 years, Donald P. MacDonald; her children, Donald J. MacDonald, Catherine (Wayne) Harrall, Robert (Genene) MacDonald, James MacDonald, Steven MacDonald and Meghan MacDonald; her 14 grandchildren, Rachael, Corinne, Donald William, Amanda, Charlie, Travis, Shaun, Michael, Matthew, Elizabeth, Claire, Gabrielle, Emma, Nicholas; her great granddaughter, Marlo; her brothers, Thomas Moran and John (Arlene) Moran; her sister, Maureen Duggan in Ireland; her sister-in-law, Barbara Levins-Kiselica and sister-in-law, Margaret (Peggy) Moran; many nieces, nephews and friends. Connie was a loving and dedicated, wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, sister and a friend to all who knew her. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Wednesday, February 22, at 11:00 AM at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, 2230 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. Burial in Holy Cross Cemetery. Relatives and friends may meet her family on Tuesday, February 21, from 5:00 – 8:00 PM with the rosary prayed at 7:30 pm at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW, and again at the church on Wednesday morning from 10:00 am until Mass begins at 11:00 AM. Contributions in Connie’s memory may be made to VanAndel Institute for Cancer Research. To read more about Connie’s life, to leave your own memory of her and to sign her guest book, visit her web page at www.lifestorynet.com