Visitation at Funeral Home
Obituary of John J. McDonald
John J. McDonald, 81 of Chester, NJ died peacefully on Friday, June 14, 2019 in Morristown, NJ.
John was born on June 29, 1937, in Jersey City, NJ, son of Scottish Immigrants, the late Patrick and Grace (Vousden) McDonald of Kearny, NJ.
John graduated Kearny High in 1955 and quickly enlisted with the U.S. Air Force (USAF). Following his deployment to Okinawa, Japan, John was selected to attend Yale University to learn Mandarin; a highlight of his service. After his honorable discharge from Enlisted Active Duty in June, 1959, John attended Newark College of Engineering (NCE) and continued his military training with the USAF Reserve Officer Training Corps. John graduated NCE in June, 1963 (BS, Mechanical Engineering), was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant, Reserve, USAF and immediately began his career as an Intelligence Analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency, in Washington, DC. John remained an active reservist for several years, achieved the rank of 1st Lieutenant in June, 1966 and officially separated from the USAF in October, 1972.
John married Ilse (Arnold) in October, 1964 and they briefly lived in Falls Church, VA before settling in Annandale, VA. In May 1968, John accepted a civilian position with the U.S. Army Munitions Command (later known as the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center under the U.S. Department of Defense) at Picatinny Arsenal in Dover, NJ and the couple, with new daughter Kelly, relocated to Parsippany, NJ. In 1970, the family, now with new son Craig, moved to their current home in Chester, NJ, which John designed and helped to build. John retired as a Senior Foreign Intelligence Research Specialist from Picatinny Arsenal in August, 1996 after 41 years of combined military and civilian service to the U.S. Government.
In retirement, John developed a passion for woodworking and crafted many artful keepsakes for his family and friends to treasure. He also continued to hone his skills in photography and enjoyed playing and collecting acoustic guitars. John was a 45-year member of Grace Lutheran Church, in Mendham, NJ and was an active participant in their "Meals on Wheels" program. John also proudly served as an Election Polling Official for over 15 years in Chester Township.
John (aka Grandad) visited with his grandchildren often and attended all of their concerts and plays. He admired their many talents and applauded their high academic achievements. In his later years, John relished sitting on his deck, reading 2 newspapers and magazines daily, drinking his favorite soda or coffee and birdwatching. He also walked the neighborhood frequently, enjoying the fresh air, nature and chatting with neighbors.
John is survived by his devoted wife, Ilse of 54 years; daughter, Kelly and husband David Haase; son, Craig and wife Daniella (Ferrandino) McDonald; grandchildren, Nathan and Benjamin Haase and Tyler and Alexandra McDonald; and his sister, Elizabeth (McDonald) Klein of Delray Beach, FL.
John's Life Celebration will include a visitation on Tuesday, June 18, 2019 from 4PM – 7PM at the William J. Leber Funeral Home (908) 879-3090, 15 Furnace Road (corner of Rt. 206) Chester, NJ 07930. A Service of the Resurrection will be held on Wednesday, June 19, 2019 at 11AM at Grace Lutheran Church, 65 E Main St, Mendham, NJ 07945. Interment, with Military Funeral Honors, will follow at Pleasant Hill Cemetery, 85 Pleasant Hill Rd, Chester, NJ 07930. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Grace Lutheran Church.
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15 Furnace Road
Chester, NJ 07930
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