Tributes & Stories

 

Obituary (VA): Donal Elmer McGonegal '55

Posted on 09/12/2018

Donal E. "Mac" McGonegal, 88, of White Stone died on 04 September 2018. An honor graduate of Ephrata High School in Ephrata, Washington, he attended Central Washington University for two years before accepting an appointment to the United States Naval Academy. He graduated in 1955 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Naval Engineering and proceeded to Naval Flight Training, winning his Navy Wings in 1956. During the following ten years he made multiple deployments with the Pacific Fleet, serving in Viet Nam and as a liaison with the Royal Thai Navy. Flying the S-2 Tracker and the C-1A Trader, he made over 1000 carrier landings. From 1960-1964 he earned a Master's Degree in Nuclear Engineering from the Navy Post Graduate School, with a follow-on tour as an instructor. In 1967, as a Lieutenant Commander, he resigned his commission. Mac joined Atlantic Research Corporation in Alexandria, Virginia, for 20 years, culminating his career as an Aerospace Program Manager.

In 1987 Mac and wife, Hennie, moved from Northern Virginia to White Stone. Both were active in local choral groups and church choirs at White Stone United Methodist Church and Kilmarnock United Methodist Church. Mac filled multiple official positions at both of these churches. A passionate advocate of reading, he volunteered in Northern Virginia and Lancaster County to teach reading to foreign students, jail populations, and county children. He served as Treasurer for the Mosquito Point Property Owners Association for many years and as the Membership Chairman of the Virginia Aviation Historical Society. He enjoyed a long career as a docent at Historic Christ Church.

Mac and Hennie were life partners in the fullest sense. Meeting on a blind date at Annapolis, the Navy took them all around the country. During his career in Northern Virginia, they raised their children and joined together in supporting scouts, sports, school, and church activities. With their retirement to White Stone, they enjoyed traveling, venturing to Europe, Egypt, Alaska, Hawaii, Australia, and Israel. Throughout their lives they enjoyed the company of their extended family in Alexandria and Mosquito Creek. Countless summer evenings ended with music on the porch, the cousins singing and playing and Mac adding his classic "gut bucket." Mac was a lifelong learner with a passion for history, politics, and archeology. He was a biblical scholar with an extensive library that filled many shelves of his Mosquito Creek home. He maintained a love of aviation and never said no to a chance to see an airshow or visit an aviation museum. He balanced his literary life with his passion for the outdoors. An avid fisherman and boater, he instilled these loves in his children and his grandchildren. Many a summer day was spent baiting hooks, removing fish, and cleaning the catch – always with a smile.

Mac was preceded in death by his parents, Goldie and Claude McGonegal, and his wife of 59 years, Helen Roberts McGonegal. He is survived by two children, daughte Lori M. Tyler of Lancaster, and son, Donal C. McGonegal (Amy) of Havelock, NC; grandchildren, Adam N. Sabin (Tara), Ethan N. Sabin (Jenny) and Emily B. Strasler (Brandon) and great-grandchildren, Eli, Penny, Coleman, Regan, and Graham. He is survived by his sister, Jeri K. Gildehaus (Jerry) of Puyallup, Washington; nieces, Ande R. Niedermayer, Patricia R. Lowe (Eric), Shelly G. Hanks, Lonni G. Marlow (Barry); nephews, Robert G. Roberts (Barbie), Andrew V. Gildehaus (Jennifer); twelve great-nieces and -nephews and one great-great-niece.

A memorial service will be held at Kilmarnock United Methodist Church at 11:00 on September 15, 2018. In lieu of flowers, please make any donations to the Kilmarnock United Methodist Church Music Fund, P. O. Box 2095, Kilmarnock, VA 22482. The family would like to thank the staffs of Rappahannock Westminster-Canterbury, Rappahannock General Hospital, and Kilmarnock Volunteer Rescue Squad for their kind and professional care.

Published in Northern Neck Group from Sept. 13 to Sept. 28, 2018