Carol L. MacDonald, 68: Teacher taught a sixth generation to love island life

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FREEPORT — Carol Leary MacDonald, 68, of South Freeport and Bustins Island, died Oct. 10.

MacDonald was born Feb. 27, 1946, in Boston, the daughter of Gordon and Martha Leary. The family lived in several Boston suburbs, and she graduated from Lynnfield High School in 1964. In 1968, she earned an undergraduate degree from Nasson College in Springvale, winning honors in each semester.

It was in her first semester that she met her husband-to-be, Gus MacDonald. The two married in October 1968, and enjoyed 46 years of marriage before her death.

The young couple moved to Portland, living on the Eastern Promenade, soon after marriage. They eventually settled in Yarmouth, on Baker Street, and resided there until 1987. While in Yarmouth, MacDonald gave birth to her two sons, Stuart F. MacDonald III and Benjamin Gordon MacDonald.

In 1987, the family moved to South Freeport, summering on Bustins Island. Carol had visited the island briefly in 1965. She eventually came to spend much time on Bustins with her grandchildren: Delia and Guthrie, children of Stuart MacDonald and his wife, Jennifer; and Mary Mae and Charlie, children of Benjamin MacDonald and his wife, Meghan. The grandchildren represent the sixth generation of MacDonalds to become island residents.

MacDonald was a faculty member of South Portland High School for 25 years, teaching seniors English. In her spare time, she and her family enjoyed sailing the Maine coast and the Canadian Maritimes in their sloop, Panacea. She also sailed off Greece and Spain aboard the boat of family friends Charles and Tinker Whittier.

Another of MacDonald’s loves was gardening, both on Bustins and in South Freeport. Late in her life, her husband would often find her asleep, trowel in hand, next to one of her gardens as darkness settled in.

MacDonald was diagnosed with diabetes at age 2, but received some of the best care then available at the Joslin Clinic for Diabetes in Boston. In recent years, she received excellent care in Portland, and her family would like to especially thank Dr. John Vella and the staff of the Maine Transplant Division of Maine Medical Center, and Dr. John Devlin and the staff of the Mettina Proctor Center for Diabetes at Mercy Hospital.

The family also extends special thanks for MacDonald’s sister, Paula, who donated her kidney and so provided Carol the gift of life.

Funeral arrangements were private.

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