Mary Ferne McDonald left this life on Thursday, May 26. at the age of 91. She was born March 2, 1920, in Lucas, Missouri, the youngest child of Thomas A. Swackhamer and Mary Irene (Thompson) Swackhamer. After a happy childhood on the family farm, she entered Park College in Parkville, Missouri at age 17; then attended the University of Missouri in Columbia, receiving her RN in 1942. She married Joseph Gerald McDonald on January 1, 1941.
Most of her adult life was spent in the Twin Cities, where Joe worked for Honeywell. While raising her children, she also spent time working at the New Brighton Clinic and Midway Hospital in St. Paul. She was always active in the community, and was one of the earliest members of Centennial United Methodist Church in Roseville.
Mary Ferne was the quintessential nurse, always caring for and helping others. She had a love for music and nature, in particular, shells and butterflies. She was a life-long learner and displayed great strength of body and character.
The last ten plus years of her life were lived at Gianna Home in Minnetonka, where after her strokes, she received the very best of care in a beautiful family-like setting. Although she declined substantially, she retained her ability to show her comprehension and react with a smile. She was well loved at Gianna for her sweet nature.
Mary Ferne is survived by four of her children, Lee Ann, of Westfield, Wisconsin; Jim of Toronto, Ontario; Lisa of Maplewood, and Douglas of Plymouth. She is also survived by her brother, Robert Earl Swackhamer, of Springfield, Missouri; a devoted friend, Billie Schacht (who wrote to her almost weekly for ten years); nine grandchildren, and five great-children. She was preceded in death by her husband Joe in 2000 and her daughter Jeanine in 2006.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, June 4 at Gianna Home, 4605 Fairhills Road East, Minnetonka. The family will receive visitors starting at 12:00, with the service at 1:30. Memorials may be made to Gianna Home.
David Lee Funeral Home