John (Jack) J. McDonald

Retired Judge Jack J. McDonald passed away last Thursday, August 8.

McDonald was born in 1939 in New Philadelphia, PA, a small coal-mining town in eastern Pennsylvania. His mother, Alice Fogerty, was a factory worker and his father, James McDonald, was a coal miner and later a gas station owner. McDonald came to the University of Detroit on a football scholarship and studied history. While attending U of D, he joined the Magi fraternity, met many lifelong friends and the love of his life, Sharon Persia.

McDonald graduated from U of D in 1961 and married Sharon in 1962. He began his career teaching in the Detroit Public Schools. He then decided to attend law school and went to the Detroit College of Law at night while working full time as a salesman for General Tire. McDonald graduated from DCL in 1970 and began working for the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office. After leaving the prosecutor’s office, he began a successful private law partnership in Farmington Hills.  He had been a member of the Oakland County Bar Association since 1974.

McDonald was a public servant. He successfully ran for Oakland County commissioner - Farmington Hills in 1974. He served as a commissioner until 1988 and chaired many committees throughout his tenure. He unsuccessfully ran for Oakland County 47th District Court judge in 1992 and for Oakland County prosecutor in 1998. Though disappointed in his losses, he wanted to serve the public and ultimately was appointed to the Oakland County Circuit Court in 1993. McDonald served on the bench until 2010. Not ready to retire, he continued to serve as a mediator and visiting judge in various courts.

Despite a distinguished career, most important to McDonald was his faith and his family. He was married to Sharon for 53 years at the time of her death in 2015. Together they raised three children, Michael, Julie, and Patrick John (P.J.). McDonald adored his grandchildren Sam, Joe, and Sally Wardlow.

He married again in 2016 to Joan Strauss. McDonald and Joan knew each other in high school and Joan brought much comfort and joy to him during the last three years.

McDonald will lie instate today at 11:30 a.m. with services following at noon at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church, 23815 Power Rd. (at Shiawassee) in Farmington.  Rite of Committal will be at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Southfield.

Memorial donations may be made to the American Cancer Society.


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