In Celebration of

David McDonald

February 5, 1951 -  March 21, 2023

David McDonald passed away unexpectedly on March 21, 2023 at the age of 72.

Dave is survived by his loving wife of 48 years, Joyce McDonald (née Mitchell). Together they raised three children Daniel (Shannon), Gillian (Jeanine), and Eric (Dominique), and became proud grandparents to six grandchildren (Brody, Kaïla, Arthur, Spencer, Leixia and Rory).

Dave was born in Mississauga, Ontario. He was the oldest son of Walter and Eleanor McDonald and brother to Peter. As a child he dreamed of becoming a professional hockey player, but it was his talent for being a “math whiz” that would lead him to find his vocation as a research scientist. He earned a BSc with a major in Mathematics from the University of Toronto (1974) and an MSc in Physics (1978) from McMaster University under the supervision of Nobel Laureate, Bertram Brockhouse.

Dave spent 45 years in the pulp and paper industry with Abitibi-Price, Paprican, and FPInnovations as a scientist and eventually the Vice-President of University Programs and Strategic Partnerships. At the time of his passing, he was a consultant and adjunct professor in the Chemical Engineering department at McMaster University.

Dave was accomplished in his field; he wrote over 80 peer-reviewed publications and presented at many conferences, sometimes as a keynote speaker. His contributions to pulp and paper research were recognized within the industry, winning him awards such as the John Bates Memorial Gold Medal, and the Gunnar Nicholson Gold Medal, the highest honor awarded by the Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry (TAPPI).

Outside of his career, he was a committed endurance athlete who participated in events in a variety of disciplines: cross country skiing, cycling, and running. In the 80’s and 90’s he was an avid runner, completing several marathons. After he retired, he took up cycling, participating in many multi-day cycling tours. But cross-country skiing remained his main athletic passion throughout most of his adult life. He was a regular participant in the Canadian Ski Marathon and earned a permanent bib number. Several times he competed in the Gold Coureur de Bois category, which requires participants to ski 160 km over two days while sleeping outside in the snow without a tent. He also participated in several Worldloppet events, including the Vasaloppet (Sweden), the Engadin Skimarathon (Switzerland), the Birkebeinerrennet (Norway), and the American Birkebeiner (Wisconsin, USA).

Above all he loved his family, devoting himself to Joyce and his three children, and supporting them in their many endeavors. He spent many early mornings driving them to their sports practices, sometimes coaching their teams, taking them on ski trips and family vacations, and even building an outdoor rink in the backyard so they could play hockey after school.

His favorite place was the family's cottage in the Laurentians. He spent summers there with the whole family, swimming, fishing, and boating. His hobbies endeared him to his grandchildren, who shared his love of model trains and boats. They loved playing with Grandpa Dave and his trains on rainy days at the cottage.

The family would like to thank Dr. Tataryn and the ICU nursing staff at St. Mary's Hospital for their excellent care, kindness, and compassion.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in his memory to St. Mary's Hospital for cancer care (Montreal, Quebec) or Nova Hudson (Hudson, Quebec).

A celebration of Dave's life will be held at the Belvedere Funeral Complex on April 11th.
Visitation will be from 11am-12pm and a celebration of life at noon with a reception to follow.

Celebration of Life service will be live streamed. See button for zoom link below


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Carol and Ed Larsen (Bowdoin hockey friends)

Entered March 26, 2023 from Sarasota Florida

Gillian, we are sending our deepest condolences on the passing of your dad . We were blown away by his amazing bio. He sounds like he was a wonderful dad. We know how much you and your family must miss him. We send our warmest ice rink Huggies as you think of those great moments with the team may they comfort you now as your memories of your dad will also do Fondly, Kirsten’s mom and dad

Ivan PIKULIK (Running, skiing, bicykling friend, coworker)

Entered March 27, 2023 from Pointe Claire

Whether at work or at free time activities, Dave was always ambitious and hard striving. Yet, he always remained calm, good spirited and friendly. But more than anything else, Dave was a family man. He often spoke proudly about his family and accomplishments of his children. We all will miss him.
With deepest sympathy, Ivan

Roland Trepanier (Friend and colleague)

Entered March 27, 2023 from Hawkesbury, ON

I received the news of Dave's passing with a very heavy heart. He was a long time friend and sage colleague on the board of directors.

Most sincere condolences to Joyce and the entire family. He will be greatly missed.


Ray and Sherrill Piperni (Friend)

Entered March 27, 2023 from Saint-Lazare

We’ve known Dave for over 10 years and always looked forward to see him cycling in the Laurentian mountain and stopping to sit with us on our wharf at our summer lake house. Our deepest condolences to Joyce and their family! Dave will indeed be missed.

Ray and Sherrill

Stéphane Béchard (Friend of the family)

Entered March 27, 2023 from 102 Rapin Valleyfield Québec j6s5m5

Our sincere condolences to Joyce and the family for this sudden and unexpected loss.


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