Lt. Colonel Murray Wallace (Redeye) McDONALD lifted off at 1522 hrs EST 29 Aug 23 on his final solo flight into the wild blue yonder after 90 years, and is now rendezvousing with Princess his beloved wife of six plus decades, on their eternal flight together.
Known as Murray, Big Mur, Dad, and Grumpy to his grandchildren and great grandchildren, he grew up in Saskatoon in the 1930’s. It was a challenging time for their family as his mom was left on her own to raise three young children. Grumpy excelled at sports for most of his life, but his true calling was to serve and help others. This started at a young age where he loved being the big brother and especially the protector of his two younger sisters, Faye Coolidge (Cal) and Lynne Wasylyk (Hank).
He was married to his Princess, Jean (Margaret Christina Jean /nee Angus) for over 60-yrs until her passing in the fall of 2020. He was a proud father of Rob (Linda), Rory (Kathleen), Kathy (Charles), Heather, and Jo-Anne. Not to be out done, he was equally proud of his 7 grandchildren, Kyle, Meghan (Adam), Taylor, Kaitlyn, Andrew, Michael, (Thomas pre-deceased) and Amanda and of his three great grandchildren, Layanne, Malik and Zane. He loved to brag of his and moms off springs’ accomplishments, to any and all that would lend an ear.
When he started his military career of 4 decades, he joined as a buck private and was a proud member of RCEME. His talents were noted and he was eventually selected for officer candidate school and joined the Canadian Guards. From there he transitioned to the RCAF where he was the first in the Canadian military to be trained on rotary (helicopter), instead of fixed (airplane) winged aircraft. Prior to this, all rotary pilots were trained on fixed wing first. This set a precedent for the future training of Canadian military pilots. He loved to fly, almost more than anything else, and truly cherished his time as a pilot in and as the Commanding Officer of 422 and 403 helicopter squadrons. The friendships he developed there lasted a life time.
His love for his country was endless. Canadian and Air Force flags adorned his house, his vehicles and of course his cottage. There hasn’t been a day since he retired that he didn’t wear his RCAF sweater vest at some point or another. For Grumpy, cottage time (referred to as his happy place) was his little piece of heaven that he loved to share with family, and friends these past 50+ years. His invention of the “Murray Coffee No Coffee” as Princess called it, is legendary.
Each and every year you would find him celebrating Canada Day at the cottage with 50 plus people playing games, and indulging in food and refreshments and reliving tales of years gone by. But his biggest joy was watching all the little ones, numbering 20 plus annually, play games and win prizes. There were always lots of prizes for all the little ones and not so little ones. Some of those little ones from years gone by, are now bringing their little ones.
Grumpy had many great stories to tell and share with family and friends over the years, and they all started daily at his Happy Place, the cottage, at Happy Hour at 1600 hrs.
Cremation has taken place and internment will occur on Monday 25 September 2023 at 1100 hrs with a Military Burial in the Military section of Beechwood Cemetery, where he will be placed next to Princess.
Following internment the family invites friends to celebrate “Grumpy’s” life at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #632 at 800 Taylor Creek Dr., in Orleans, from 1430 to 1730 hrs.
Murray was a huge supporter of many causes, but his support of the Shriner’s Hospital for Children was his biggest. To see children get life altering treatment was priceless for Grumpy.
Should you wish to make a donation in Murray’s name he requested that it go to the Shriner’s Hospital – CANADA UNIT.
Per Ardua Ad Astra Murray McDonald