Donald R. (Mac) McDowell, 94, of Park Rapids, Minn., died Saturday, October 21, 2017, at Heritage Living Center in Park Rapids.
Mac was born In La Crosse, Wis., on May 17, 1923, to Donald C. and Mabel M. McDowell. Mac grew up in Soldiers Grove, Wis., where he was a star athlete going to state in track and basketball. He attended Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. He was married to Lillian M. George and their marriage was blessed with five children. Mac’s time at Luther was interrupted by WWII and in 1943 he became a member of the United States Army Air Force.
After being discharged from the service, Mac returned to Luther, graduating with the class of 1948. While at college Mac earned letters in three sports all four years in attendance, basketball, track and baseball. Upon graduating from Luther, Mac and Lil moved their family to Park Rapids, where he would teach American History for 34 years, coach basketball, and baseball, ref football and basketball games, and start track meets at nearby schools. In 1980 “Rufe” was inducted into Luther College Hall of Fame. Mac and Lil were members of Calvary Luther church for over 60 years, where he also taught Sunday school, served on the church council, and ushered. He was a lifetime member in the Otto Hendrickson American Legion Post #212 of Park Rapids with membership spanning over 70 years. He was also a member of Headwaters Country Club, serving on the Board of Directors. In 2011 Mac was inducted into the Park Rapids Panthers Hall of Fame.
Mac was preceded in death by his parents, Lil, his wife of 72 years and his son Donald (Mac) Jr. He is survived by his four children and spouses Judy and Gary Thisius, Nancy McDowell, Mary and Jerry Benham, Michael and Linda McDowell. Daughter-in-law Susie McDowell (Randy Carlson) 13 grandchildren, 25 great grandchildren and 8 great-great-grandchildren and his sister Betsy McDowell.
Memorials may be given to Calvary Lutheran Church, Pastor’s discretionary Fund and Park Rapids Area High School Scholarship Fund. Memorial Services for Mac were held at Calvary Lutheran Church in Park Rapids, Minn., on Saturday October 28, 2017.