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Paw Paw Eagles
Lawton, MI 49065
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Life Story / Obituary
Jon MacDonald was a loving husband and father. He lived his life to the fullest by doing his heart’s desire; being with people. He was a stranger to none and a friend to many, yet his greatest joy in life was his relationship with his family, especially his only daughter, Beth. His rich sense of humor, fun loving ways and his unique sarcasm will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him.
Jon’s story began during a time that was marked by WWII. Families in the United States were experiencing a gas rationing of only three gallons a week and a new breed of movies with war themes were hatching. Bing Crosby’s most popular song of all time, "White Christmas" first appeared in the movie "Holiday Inn” and the Alaska highway from Alaska through Canada had finished completion. The government established the Manhattan Project, an effort to coordinate the ongoing designing and building of an atomic bomb. During the years of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Charles Everett and Dorothy Marie (Linden) MacDonald were pleased to announce the birth of their son, Jon in Mishawaka, Indiana on March 13, 1942. His birth brought much joy and promise in an era of great change. Five years later, he was joined by his younger sister, Margo and made a wonderful big brother.
Growing up in Lawton, Jon was very active in sports as a kid. He played both football and basketball graduating with the Class of 1960 from Lawton High School. Soon after graduation, he eagerly enlisted in the Navy and proudly served four years of active duty on a ship in the Mediterranean as well as being involved in the Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba. After his military time, he enrolled at Ferris State College to pursue a degree in mortuary science. Working for the local undertaker, Garth Prindle sparked his interest in the career, yet Jon’s life took a different path. He bought up Fromme’s Cottage Grocery, a local grocery store in town and before long he had decided to stay with the grocery business instead of using its purchase as collateral for a down payment on owning and operating his own funeral home. Jon’s personality was very much one of being with people. He enjoyed getting to know each and every one of his daily customers as well as his delivery personnel over the years. He looked forward to the long days at the store knowing that he was adding value to his community and keeping in touch with the area people. He successfully operated the store from the years of 1969 thru 1991. Although the store’s name was Mac’s Cottage Grocery, the locals referred to it as Jelly Belly’s. Who knew that the store would also be the connecting thread between he and the love of his life; Karen Paterala. She was a frequent shopper who would often write checks for her wares in the hopes that Jon would notice her phone number on the check. She even went as far as circling her phone number before he finally took notice and asked her out on a date. After dating for about a year, the happy couple were joined in marriage on September 30, 1978 in Lawton. Together they raised their beautiful daughter, Elizabeth who was Jon’s 40th birthday present!
He took his role of fatherhood very seriously and was very supportive to Beth over her growing years. Once he even took her entire cheerleading squad to the Citrus Bowl in Florida by renting a van for the more than twenty hour drive. There simply wasn’t anything that he wouldn’t do for his sweet Beth. Always a proud Dad, he was known to carry her college graduation program in his truck several years after her graduation as a reminder of her many accomplishments.
By 1991, he felt it was time to sell the grocery business in order to spend more time with his family. This idea allowed him several wonderful memories vacationing over the years. He enjoyed visiting such special places as the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota and the stunning Yellowstone National Park. They were also able to take in the east coast including the many historical sights of the city of Boston. When he wasn’t vacationing, he loved to pass time by watching both college and professional football and was an avid fan of Nascar. He also had his way in the kitchen and enjoyed perfecting recipes and trying new dishes. Always one for paying attention to detail, he loved to spend many hours making his yard the envy of the neighborhood. Jon leaves behind a rich legacy of teaching his family to love life. His generous ways, his special sayings, and his warm heart will be forever remembered.
Jon MacDonald, age 74 of Mattawan died on Saturday, December 3, 2016 in Kalamazoo. Jon was an active member of the Paw Paw Eagles and enjoyed watching racing and football. Members of his family include his wife Karen, his daughter Beth (Don) Saidla. He was preceded in death by his sister Margo Ann Anderson and his parents. Visit with Jon’s family and friends on Wednesday from 5-8pm at the Life Story Funeral Home, Betzler & Thompson, 60900 M-40, Paw Paw (657-3870), where services will be held on Thursday at 11am. Burial of Jon’s cremated remains will be at Oak Grove Cemetery in Lawton. Please visit Jon’s personal web page at www.BetzlerFuneralHome.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial donations may be made to Paw Paw Eagles or SPCA.