Kenneth Preston Macdonald passed away at his son’s home May 3, 2019. It was his goal to make it to 95 years old, and he accomplished that goal.
He was born April 16, 1924 in Kanab, UT to Preston Macdonald and Marie Eddington Macdonald. Ken had three younger sisters: Mardean, DeLenna, and Lyall.
Ken was seven years old when his father, Preston, was tragically killed in a winter car accident. His mother, Marie, raised her three children alone. Ken learned to work at a young age.
Ken attended Kanab Elementary School. He learned to play the saxophone and the clarinet from his mother. He had such a love for music he continued to play in high school, college, and the Francis Lyman Band in Blanding.
He attended Kanab High School, where he played basketball and participated in track in the long jump and hurdles.
To earn money during the summer, Ken herded over 1,000 head of sheep and kept them safe from coyotes and other predators. He learned to be self sufficient and independent.
Ken loved to build things, and he was a good athlete. He received a basketball scholarship to Dixie College and majored in industrial arts and biology. He and his team won all conference.
While at Dixie College, Ken met Jessie Mae Redd, who was a roommate of Ken’s sister DeLenna. Ken was pretty smitten, but World War II delayed the romance.
Ken was a corporal surgical technician on the front lines in World War II. He was with the 70th infantry division, 72nd Field Artillery Battalion, and his unit was the Third Infantry Division.
While stationed in Europe and waiting for orders, he played basketball for the entire staging area, which consisted of over 10,000 men in one division. There were five all-Americans on his team.
His team took the entire European championship. He also won several Ping Pong championships.
After the war, Ken went to California and worked in construction. He learned to build homes and used many of his skills from college.
Ken and Jessie were reacquainted at a Dixie College reunion and were soon married in the St. George Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on June 24, 1949. When Jessie passed away in 2016, they had been married for 67 years.
Ken and Jessie settled in Blanding, where Ken built his own home and taught at San Juan High school for 37 years. He was a teacher, assistant principal, principal, and high school counselor. He and others in the community were instrumental in bringing football and new uniforms to San Juan High School.
Ken loved teaching, visiting with people, scratching in the dirt, and his 40 acre “Old Macdonald Farm.” He loved his animals, farming, and watching things grow.
He especially loved riding on the old John Deere 70 he affectionately named “old John” and “Johnny Popper” because the motor sounded like corn popping.
Ken was the mayor of Blanding twice and was instrumental in upgrading the water treatment plant, getting the million gallon water tank, and assisting with the repair of the south side of the mountain water tunnel.
Ken gave many years of service in the LDS church, both on a ward and stake level as bishopric counselor, finance clerk, high councilor, and home teacher. He had a testimony of the gospel and service to others.
Ken is survived by his three children, Paul (Lisa) Macdonald, Scott (Wendy) Macdonald, Marta (Grenade) Macdonald-Curran; 10 grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren.