Gloucester, MA — Capt. Timothy Macdonald, Ph.D., 76, died unexpectedly of a massive heart attack on Wednesday, November 21, at his home in Gloucester.
He was born in Portland, Maine, May 16, 1936, to H. Eugene Macdonald, M.D, and Rosamond (Edwardes) Macdonald, R.N. In 1952, Tim’s father, one of Maine’s only two neurosurgeons, moved his family to Ponape, Caroline Islands, a U.S. Trust Territory in Micronesia, where he trained island doctors and practiced general medicine until his death in 1963.
In 1957, Tim enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, and after four years of service, began studies at the University of Hawaii, where he earned a B.S. in Botany, and a Ph.D. in Plant Genetics. After completing post-doctoral work at Brookhaven National Laboratories in New York, he taught plant genetics at Lowell Technological Institute and became the assistant chair of the college’s biology department.
During the blizzard of ’78, Tim met and later married Mary Elizabeth (Beth) Hemeon of Lexington and Gloucester. For the next decade the couple fished for tuna, and in 1989, he purchased F/V Dory I, and went ground fishing until his retirement in 2006. His mother used to say that Dory I was “Tim’s island” in the same way that his father’s island was in Micronesia.
As a commercial fisherman and a biologist, Tim was a dedicated advocate for both fishermen and for the preservation of the fisheries, two totally compatible sides of the same coin, as he saw it. Some of his thoughts were articulated in John Ronan’s 2002 film documentary, “Gloucester’s Adventure: An American Story.”
Tim Macdonald knew and loved plants and animals, both wild and domestic. A fan of the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins and Pats, he appreciated a good cigar and a difficult crossword puzzle. An unassuming man who said little but spoke volumes, Tim was devoted to his family, his wife, Beth; his two daughters by a previous marriage, and two sons, as well as a large extended family. His sons’ friends called him by the nickname of “Wise”. Tim was considered by many as one of the rare true gentlemen in this world.