Obituary of Merrill Raymond MacDonald
It is with great sadness that the family of Merrill Raymond “Jeff” MacDonald announces his passing, which occurred on March 30, 2023, at the Sussex Health Centre, Sussex, NB. Born in Covehead, Prince Edward Island, on September 10, 1936, son of the Late Theodore and Mary (MacDonald) MacDonald.
Jeff was the third youngest of nine children. His early years were challenging and at age 12, he went to live with his sister Muriel and her husband Freddy. Jeff was incredibly smart and resourceful. When he was 15, he helped deliver milk by horse and wagon, one of his customers being Don Messer. Later he sold tires, and worked with heavy equipment wherever the work was available, travelling to Goose Bay, NL, St. Lawrence Seaway, Malton Airport (now Pearson) in Toronto, and in northern Ontario. He founded Sussex Tire Service Ltd. on Church Ave., Sussex, NB in 1963. He met Jean, the love of his life and they were married in 1967. In 1980, he built a new shop on Leonard Dr. where he was able to offer expanded services to Sussex and the surrounding areas for their car, truck, farm equipment and mining tire needs. He built his life on service. In later years he would often talk fondly of past customers. In 1990, he sold the shop to his brothers-in-law, Donnie & Ernie Titus, and retired.
In retirement, he was not known to slow down. He enjoyed focussing on family as Kelly & Andrew settled next door. He loved being Tappy to Lauren & Leah, and took great joy in watching them grow up. He also loved yard work, proudly counting the number of garbage cans of pine needles and leaves he would haul to the dump each spring and fall. Many will know him for his fine woodworking. He took great pride in creating countless pieces of beautiful furniture, turned bowls, segmented vases, burls, and boxes for family and friends. This was never a business for him, and he refused taking orders (which applies to other parts of his life as well). He also spent many afternoons at Tim Hortons holding court with his dear friends that gathered there regularly.
In 2017, Jeff was reunited with his long lost daughter, Ruth, who was placed for adoption as a baby in Ontario. Jeff had never known where she was, and he was ever grateful for the opportunity to get to know her. She and her husband John came to New Brunswick for several visits and were able to embrace so many lost years. She became a perfect fit with the family. Also, as a result of this reunion, Jeff discovered a long lost sister also named Ruth who lives in Nova Scotia. Though they only met once, he spoke of her often.
In recent years, he suffered a decline in mobility which prevented him from his love of yard work and being in his workshop. Covid-19 interrupted the Tim’s crew from gathering, but on occasion, faithful neighbours and friends would stop by with a coffee. During this time, Kelly embraced the opportunity to bring Tim’s to her dad. Court was now held on Cougle Road almost every afternoon around 2:30pm. She and Jean listened to the same stories he told over the years and even heard some surprising new stories.
Jeff is survived by his loving wife, Jean (Titus) MacDonald; his daughters: Kelly (Andrew) Myers of Sussex Corner, and Ruth (John) Hurdle of Tiny, Ontario; his grandchildren: Lauren and Leah Myers, and Taylor (Leah), Andrew, and Michael Hurdle; his brother, Clayton of Penobsquis; his sisters: Carol Gillis (Brian Moase) of Charlottetown, PEI and E. Ruth Smith of Parrsboro, NS; his brother-in-law, Harvey Livingstone of Charlottetown, PEI, and his sister-in-law, Ida MacDonald of Covehead Road, PEI. Jeff is also survived by several nieces and nephews.
Besides his parents, Jeff was predeceased by his brothers, Lloyd (Margarite), Orville (Margaret), and Stewart, his sisters, Marjorie Carruthers (Warren), Muriel Court (Fred), and Rena Livingstone, and his sister-in-law, Lenore MacDonald.
A special thank you to Dr. Hugh O’Neill and the caring staff of the Sussex Health Centre for their wonderful care of Jeff in his last days.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of Wallace Funeral Home, 34 Sunnyside Drive, Sussex, NB (506-433-1176) from where a visitation will take place on Wednesday, April 5, from 2-4 and 6-8pm. A celebration of Jeff’s life will take place on Thursday, April 6 from the Sussex Baptist Church at 2:00pm.
Donations in memory of Jeff may be made to the Sussex Sharing Club, the Mark Carll Scholarship, or a charity of the donor’s choice. Personal condolences to the family and donations may be made through wallacefuneralhome.com.