Donald Gordon McDonald, 97, died August 5 in Dallas, Texas. He was born February 22, 1925, in Waxahachie, Texas. In high school, he took organ lessons with Dora Poteet Barclay at Southern Methodist University. Following high school, he enrolled at SMU as a pre-med student, but left to serve in World War II in the United States Army Air Corps, Ninth Air Force, from 1943 until 1945 as a chaplain’s assistant. During the war, he was involved in the Northern France Campaign, the Ardennes Campaign, the Rhineland Campaign, and the Central Europe Campaign. For his service McDonald received the American Theater Service Medal, the European Theater Service Medal with four bronze battle stars, and the Victory Medal.
Returning from the war, McDonald attended the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to study with Alexander McCurdy. There he earned his Bachelor of Music degree in 1950. He continued his studies at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, where he obtained a Master of Sacred Music degree in 1952, and later a Doctor of Sacred Music degree in 1964.
McDonald served on the organ faculty at Westminster Choir College, Princeton, New Jersey, from 1952 to 1994 and at Union Theological Seminary from 1958 to 1966. An active recitalist, he was the first American organist to play at the annual organ week in Nuremberg, Germany, in 1963. From 1955 to 1975, he was a touring organ recitalist under the management of Colbert-LaBerge concert management. He served as the organist and minister of music at Christ Church, United Methodist, in New York City for 30 years.
Donald Gordon McDonald is survived by niece Cyndy Matthews and nephew Scotty Rutherford and their families. Memorial gifts may be given to the American Guild of Organists endowment fund at agohq.org or the Central Park Conservancy at centralparknyc.org.
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