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Dr. Richard G. Macdonald

December 31, 1936 October 31, 2019
Dr. Richard  G.  Macdonald
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Obituary for Dr. Richard G. Macdonald

Dr. Richard G. Macdonald, 82, long time central Illinois resident, would have appreciated that he passed away on a widely celebrated holiday, Halloween, just, as he liked to say, his birth on New Year’s Eve was celebrated worldwide.

Born in 1936 in Evanston IL to Dr. Hugh and Edith Macdonald, Dr. Macdonald graduated from Peoria High School and attended University of Illinois graduating from Illinois College of Podiatric Medicine in 1960. Entering the Army, he became the eighteenth podiatrist commissioned in its history. In 1961 he married Sally Anderson, and, upon discharge in 1965, returned to Peoria to establish a private podiatric practice, specializing in foot surgery, diabetic care and ulcers. During his career he was clinical instructor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria, and published numerous articles in the field. He was affiliated with Peoria hospitals, OSF Saint Francis, Methodist and Proctor and was a consultant for the VA Out-Patient Clinic. Concerned about the education of podiatrists, he served on the Alumni Board of Directors at the Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine at Rosalind Franklin University.

A tireless advocate for podiatry, Dr. Macdonald worked to increase its reputation as a cost-effective medical and surgical discipline. Unable to treat patients in local hospitals, he led a landmark federal case seeking full credentialing. For his pioneering work he was honored in 2011 as Scholl College Alumnus of the Year. In 2016 he received the American Podiatric Medical Association’s Meritorious Service award for his profound impact on the field.

Civic-minded, Dr. Macdonald was a long time member of the Peoria Rotary Club, serving on its board of directors; he also served on the Peoria Symphony Orchestra board and was a board member in the church of his youth, the Universalist-Unitarian Church of Peoria.

Retiring in 2007, he authored two books, Inside the gates: The Nazi concentration camp at Ebensee, Austria, which chronicles the war experience of his father and The whooping cough germ that became a hero, a children’s book illustrating his father’s collaborative work to develop the first whooping cough vaccine, which is still in use today. Dr. Macdonald lectured on the wartime events at public libraries, universities, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Bradley University and military museums. He felt humbled to meet camp survivors and veterans of his father’s unit, who were gratified to reestablish connections from a significant moment in their lives.

To those who knew him, Dr. Macdonald (“Dr. Mac”) was a warm and generous presence. He rarely met a joke, no matter how inappropriate, that he didn’t believe worth sharing. An avid news junkie and mocker of hubris, he penned many a blistering letter to the editor. An enthusiastic traveler, Dr. Mac with his partner of later years, Barbara O’Brien, traveled the world.

Dr. Macdonald, preceded in death by his wife Sally, is survived by his partner of many years, Barbara O’Brien of Tremont Illinois, his sons Richard (Elizabeth Morrison) of Seattle, WA and Philip (Dena) of Fairview TN, daughter Annie of Heber City, UT, his two grandchildren Evelyn Morrison and Leighton Macdonald and his sister-in-law Ester Macdonald of Peoria.

A celebration of his life will be held at a time in the future. Remembrances in Dr. Macdonald’s name may be made to a charity of your choice, the Peoria Symphony, WCBU or Universalist-Unitarian Church of Peoria.


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