What Happened to John and Lillian McDonald?

February 1, 2024

John and Lillian McDonald were just like other young parents, filled with hopes and dreams for the future. But on April 2, 1954, their life was forever changed by a gruesome tragedy that no parent should ever have to endure. The unforgiving sea took their nineteen-month-old son from them, leaving only a single photograph to bear painful testament to their tragic loss. The image, titled Tragedy by the Sea and also known as Cruel Waves, was taken in Hermosa Beach, California, by Los Angeles Times photographer John L. Gaunt and would win the 1955 Pulitzer Prize for Photography.

The couple would later relocate to Lakeview, Oregon where they owned and operated a lumber company, producing, sawmilling, and remanufacturing 20 million board feet of lumber annually. In addition, they operated a cattle ranch with 500 acres of deeded land and 200 mother cows, replacement heifers, and bulls. They were also involved in civic affairs serving on the Lakeview City Council, Chamber of Commerce, and Rotary Club as well as on the school board and chairman of the United Fund in the county.

Lillian was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She is survived by her children, Debra Post and her husband Don of Millbury, Linda Bjorn and her husband Richard of Sutton, and Carol Perron and her husband Robert of North Grafton; thirteen grandchildren; twelve great-grandchildren; her sister, Ann Quiqley; and many nieces and nephews. Visitation will be held Thursday, October 14 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Mulhane Home for Funerals, 45 N. Main Street in Millbury.


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