September 11, 1931 ~ August 3, 2009
Barbara Claire McDonald, "Bobbie" to her friends and family, began her amazing life on September 11, 1931 in Paia, Maui, Hawaii. Raised by her mother, Florence Coleman, she was the middle of five children, Marjorie, Joyce and "the twins", Hugh and Fred. In September of 1949 she boarded the passenger ship, the Lurline, which took her to California to attend college at Pepperdine University in Los Angeles. In her junior year, she met her husband of 56 years, James K. McDonald, on a blind date. They were married a week after her graduation by Jim's father, Rev. Grant McDonald, on June 13, 1953 at the First Brethren Church of Inglewood, California. The couple moved to Torrance in 1957 a few months before their son, Steve, was born. A year later, they welcomed their beloved daughter, Jan, into the world.
Barbara spent her life managing the household and raising the children while working as a teacher in the Inglewood and Torrance school districts. She taught Physical Education for four years in Inglewood, later teaching swimming for Inglewood Adult Ed. She was a substitute teacher in Torrance for nearly 15 years then worked with Torrance Adult Ed into the late 1990's. She was well known in the South Bay for the swimming lessons she taught in her backyard pool. Her students included hundreds of local kids and mothers from across the South Bay. Although her health was declining over the last year, she was able to spend much precious time with her husband Jim, her daughter Jan and her grandchildren Kaiana and Kevin and his wife, Megan. Her son, Steve and his friend Cathy Ricards came from Santa Barbara to assist in her care during the last couple of months. She lost her hard fought battle involving complications with osteoporosis and heart problems on August 3, 2009. She passed quietly while sleeping in her Torrance home with her cats, Pepper and Salty. She had just spent the day surrounded by family and many friends.
Over her life, Barbara proved a loving wife, mother, grandmother and friend. She cared deeply for her family who she put before everything else. She had many long and close friendships and was "second mom" to many of her children's' friends. She impressed her coworkers who still count her as a friend. She had a great wit and even better memory and was always the final authority on family history.
She was always helping others through her church, especially when it involved children and teens. She attended South Bay Baptist Church in Torrance, then Journey of Faith in Manhattan Beach. She loved puzzles and games. She collected thousands of photos from her travels creating an incredible library full of family history and travelogues. Played guitar and dabbled in painting and drawing. Mostly, she loved all things Hawaiian. She often returned to Maui for visits with family and friends. She decorated her house with the many unique items she brought back from Hawaii.
Barbara is survived by her husband, James "Jim" McDonald; her son Steve and daughter Jan. Also, grandson Kevin (and his wife Megan) and granddaughter Kaiana. She also leaves behind her siblings Marjorie Brookman, Joyce Calvert, Hugh "Mack" Coleman and Fred Coleman and her aunt Dorothy known as Sister Stephanie.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, August 8, 2009 at 2:00PM at Rice Mortuary, 5310 Torrance Blvd. in Torrance, CA. A reception will be held after the memorial at Rice Mortuary. There will be a graveside service on Monday August 10 at 10:00AM at Green Hills Memorial Park at 27501 S. Western Ave. in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA.
Barbara was involved in supporting the care of animals through the ASPCA. Donations can be made to the ASPCA in her name. Her other concern was her church missionaries. Donations to Missions can be made in her name through Journey of Faith Christian Church at 1243 Artesia Blvd, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266-6970 website: www.journeyoffaith.com
Please use this website, www.LAfuneral.com to send the family messages, share memories, or to obtain directions to the services.
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