Ethel M. McDonald, age 88, of Torrance, beloved mother, loving wife, and dear Nana, went to be with the Lord on January 21, 2012. She was born during a snow storm in Minneapolis on January 1, 1924, the fourth of five children of Rose and Cleveland Bert Mosher. The first in her family to graduate from college, she earned a BA in psychology from the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, MN in 1947. In 1951, she relocated to Los Angeles where she met Paul A. McDonald, a young professor of engineering and mathematics. They were joined in Holy Matrimony on December 26, 1953, and shortly after began a family. Settling in Torrance, CA, they were very active parishioners of Nativity Catholic Church. Ethel loved being a housewife and mother, and would have been proud to make this her lifelong career, but God had other plans. In 1968, her beloved husband died of cancer. She returned to the world of work, and threw herself into the task of raising four children under the age of 14. The task seemed overwhelming at times, but throughout she was sustained by her great faith in Christ and the support of her family and community. She succeeded in putting all her children through Catholic school and was honored to be named the first Mother of the Year by the Nativity Mother's Club. All her children went on to receive college degrees. In retirement, she filled her days by being Nana to her grandchildren, and by playing bridge whenever and wherever she could. Ethel was passionate about her faith, her family, and her friends, and very easygoing about most everything else. Her home was always open to a family member or friend in need. She leaves a legacy of love for her children and grandchildren. She is survived by her children Dr. Mary McDonald (Jack Lawson), of Sacramento, CA; Patty McDonald, of San Jose, CA; Tim (Trish), of Torrance, CA; and Gregor (Vera), of Naperville, IL; grandchildren Jason Kong (Kelly); Christina Kong; Paul McDonald; Katy McDonald; Mariah McDonald; and Amy McDonald; a great many nieces and nephews; her "other daughter", Janice Salisbury; and many others to whom she was a second mother or Nana. In addition to her husband, she was preceded in death by her parents; her sisters Helen Doan and Mabelle Carlson; and her brothers LeRoy and Donald Mosher. A rosary will be prayed at 7:00 pm on Thursday, February 2nd and the Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 1:30 pm on Friday, February 3rd , both at Nativity Catholic Church, 1447 Engracia Ave., Torrance. For those who would like to leave a lasting tribute, memorials in Ethel's name may be directed to Parkinson's Disease Foundation (

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  1. I want to extend my deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Ethel. I never knew her, but I know she must have been a wonderful mother to raise a son as nice as Gregor, who I know here in Illinois.

  2. My deepest condolances to Mary, Patty, Tim & Gregor McDonald. Ethel was married to my mothers brother, Paul. They were wonderful people who had fun entaining the family at Thanksgiving. My fondest memory of Aunt Ethel is what a fantastic Pie maker she was and I really loved her a lot. May your soul rest in peace.

  3. Dear Mary, Patty, Tim, Gregor. I’m sorry to hear about your mom Ethel’s passing away. I remember her so well, and my fond memories also include playing with all of you when my 3 sisters and parents John and Lee O’Leary would visit and we would play together as children along with all of the McDonald family. My condolences to all of you, your mom was a special lady. Teresa O’Leary Guerrini

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