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Mark A. "L.T.""Pooh Bear" MacDonald

April 1, 1945 ~ April 2, 2018 (age 73)
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April 4, 2018

Mark A. MacDonald

ATHOL- Mark A. MacDonald, Massachusetts State Police Lieutenant (retired), age 73, of 89 Intervale Ave., Athol, MA., passed away on Monday, April 2, 2018, at the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center, Worcester, MA., after a lengthy illness.  

He was born in Gardner, MA., on  April 1, 1945, the son of the late Alden and Hazel (Simpson)  MacDonald.  He grew up in Athol graduating in the Class of 1963 from Athol High School, where he was a member of the 1962 undefeated football team.

He attended Worcester Junior College and then enlisted in the United States Marine Corps.  While serving in the Corps he lost his best friend, Christopher O’Brien, who was from Athol and died in the Vietnam War.  

He married  Sandy (Soucie) on November 28, 1970.  They enjoyed over 47 years together.

In 1968 he graduated from the Massachusetts State Police Academy in Framingham, MA., in the 49th Recruit Training Troop.  He enjoyed a 26 year career with the Massachusetts State Police rising through four ranks to the rank of Lieutenant before retiring in 1994.  He truly loved the State Police and his work history was evident of that love.  As a new Trooper he was assigned to the Shelburne Falls Barracks.  For many years he served as head of the Drug Enforcement Unit attached to the State Police Crime Prevention and Control Unit for the Hampshire/Franklin County District Attorney’s  Office.  While so doing he had the distinction of working under three different District Attorneys.  Besides always trying to develop a good understanding with the public, he also fostered good working relationships with all of the area police departments.  His last few years before retiring were spent as a Station Commander at the Athol State Police Barracks. 

He then spent the next 13 years working as an investigator for The Insurance Fraud Bureau of Massachusetts.  For his last 12 years he worked as a Bail Commissioner for the local and State Police agencies in the Athol /Orange / Gardner area, retiring in 2017. He also assisted his wife for years with her “This Bloomin Place” floral business.    

Family was most important to him.  He truly enjoyed spending time with his two grandchildren (whom he adored),  whether attending their sporting events, vacationing in York Beach, Maine or simply being together with them at home.  He so enjoyed ‘hanging’ out with his many friends and sharing and telling the many stories that were so great, even after being told many times.  An avid card player, he loved playing poker, 13 and an occasional cribbage game. 

Besides work and family he was always active in the community.  He spent many years in the Athol Lions Club finally receiving the honored Melvin Jones Lions Award.  Mark was elected Selectman in 1995 and instituted a “Code of Conduct” which the board unanimously  accepted. He also served on the Route 2 Task Force and was a liaison to the Police Department. He was instrumental in securing funding for an Ice Rescue Sled for the Athol Fire Department.  That sled was used shortly thereafter to save an ice victim’s life.  In his youth he worked at the Athol Granite Works, Adams Animal Hospital, and Archie’s Corner Store on Pinedale Avenue. 

He is survived by his loving wife, Sandy MacDonald of Athol; daughters Sasha Vaillancourt and Kyra Gore, both of Athol; granddaughters Brooklyn Paige and Kennedy Rae, both of Athol; granddogs ‘Mandi-Jo Possum’ and ‘Jackie-Blue; several nephews, nieces, cousins, and many friends not only in the State Police, but also in many law enforcement agencies.

Besides his parents, he was predeceased by his brother Vernon B. MacDonald, and his sister Janet Landry.

There are no calling hours.

A memorial service will be held on Friday, April 13, 2018, at 11:00 AM at the Starrett Memorial United Methodist Church located at 40 Island Street in Athol.

A reception at 12:15 PM will follow at the Ellinwood Country Club located at 1928 Pleasant Street in Athol.

Interment in Silver Lake Cemetery in Athol will be private.

In lieu of flowers the family suggests that donations may be made to:  The Chuck Stone Little League, 325 Pequoig Avenue, Athol, MA., 01331 or to the Town Of Athol, memo - North Quabbin Animal Shelter, ℅ the Athol Police Department, 280 Main Street, Athol, MA. 01331

Witty’s Funeral Home, 158 South Main Street, Orange, MA., is directing the arrangements.

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