Valerie E. Macdonald, Ph.D., 74, a community leader and businesswoman of Shenandoah, passed away peacefully Sunday at Shenandoah Senior Living Community.
Born May 4, 1940, and raised in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, N.Y., she was a daughter of the late Louis and Mary Agnes Whyte Macdonald.
Val was educated at St. Anselm grade school and Fontbonne Hall Academy. She was a 1961 graduate of Brooklyn College with a major in biology.
Val began her professional career at Downstate Medical Center & Kings County Hospital. In 1964, she went to work for Bellevue Hospital and New York University Medical Center. While at NYU, she earned a master’s degree in marine biology and immunohematology in conjunction with the New York Aquarium. She continued her graduate work at NYU Medical Center; her Ph.D. thesis was completed on the “Structure and Function of Hemophiliac and Von Willebrand Factors.”
Valerie left academia in 1978. She then entered the pharmaceutical diagnostic industry. She worked for a number of pharmaceutical companies, specifically Warner Lambert, Organon Technica, Becton Dickinson and Fisher Scientific & Instrumentation Laboratory. Her final position took her to Miami, Fla., as quality assurance director for five blood bank centers. She retired from the industry in 1998 to return to Shenandoah permanently.
Valerie first came to Shenandoah in 1987 when a friend’s parents retired in Shenandoah. She came for a visit and found she enjoyed the town. She purchased an old Victorian house in 1988 and came to Shenandoah every weekend and vacation time to restore the house. Soon after, her brother, Louis Macdonald, and her nephew took up residence in Shenandoah as well.
Upon her retirement in 1998 and as a permanent resident of Shenandoah, Val desired to get in touch with her new community. In an effort to find a way to contribute to the quality of life, she started the Greater Shenandoah Area Historical Society in October 1998, of which she currently served as president. From this small step came Heritage Day and the Parade of Nations. Val then joined numerous civic organizations to eventually become past president of the Shenandoah Rotary Club and past president of the Greater Shenandoah Area Chamber of Commerce. She was also a member of the Community Action Volunteers, Gaudenzia Foundation Community Volunteer committee and the board of directors of the Schuylkill County Visitors Bureau. Val was co-founder and current president of Downtown Shenandoah Inc.
Val was a very active parishioner of St. Stephen Roman Catholic Church, Shenandoah. She served as a Eucharistic minister, delivering communion to shut-ins and to residents of the local nursing homes. Val truly be-lieved in “Service Above Self,” the motto of the Rotary and to model Christ; she truly be-lieved that this is the way to live.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by a brother, Louis Patrick Macdonald.
Surviving are two nieces, Anne Marie Lorenz, Vienna, Austria, and Eileen Macdonald, Dallas, Texas; nephew, Gregory Macdonald, Arden, N.C.; three great-nephews; a great-great niece; a lifelong friend, Cheryl Roberts, Sandyston, N.J.; and the many friends she encountered daily.
Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday from Walukiewicz-Oravitz Fell Funeral Home, 132 S. Jardin St., Shenandoah. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Friday at Annunciation BVM Roman Catholic Church, Shenandoah. Monsignor Ronald C. Bocian, pastor, will officiate. Interment will follow in Annunciation BVM Cemetery, Shenandoah Heights. Relatives and friends may call at the funeral home from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday evening and from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Friday. Expressions of sympathy can be made to the church memorial fund of one’s choice or the Greater Shenandoah Area Historical Society, P.O. Box 327, Shenandoah, PA 17976 or Downtown Shenandoah Inc. (DSI), 116 N. Main St., Shenandoah, PA 17976.
Walukiewicz-Oravitz Fell Funeral Home, Shenandoah is in charge of the arrangements.