Harry Martin MacDonald, age 91, of Des Moines, WA, died in his sleep on June 25, 2017. Harry was born March 28, 1926, in Maywood, California. He met Hope, his wife of 69 years, in southern California, while preaching a message based on the song, “Accentuate the Positive.”
Harry’s mother, Rae, was a concert pianist, influencing his life-long appreciation of music. At an early age his gifted piano skills earned him an offer to play the role of a young Beethoven for a Hollywood movie. As a young man he traveled the country performing with a quartet, had his own radio show, and sang with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans.
In 1944 God called Harry into a life of full time ministry. He attended Westmont College in Santa Barbara where he started the first Young Life club in southern California. After graduating from seminary in 1951 he went on full-time Young Life staff. He continued on Young Life staff for a total of 35 years, serving in California, Seattle, Pittsburgh, Brazil, Colorado Springs and Chicago.
Harry was fond of telling stories about the family’s 5 years in Brazil where he started a still-thriving youth ministry known as “ALVO” – the Portuguese name for Young Life. He established Young Life clubs, built a youth camp, formed a board and helped the ministry become self-sustaining by the Brazilians. Since 1962, over 400K kids have come to Christ and been discipled through the ministry of ALVO.
Following his time in Brazil he returned to the States and to be the International Director of Young Life while earning his doctorate in Missiology. At age 55 he was called back to the beautiful Northwest to serve as the senior pastor of John Knox Presbyterian Church. His first Sunday was May 18, 1980, the day Mount St. Helen's blew up. The congregation often teased him how he came in to their church with a bang! During his 16 years there, he established several new ministries and gave robust biblical sermons which inspired many.
In 1996, age 70, Harry retired from John Knox. However, Harry continued to be involved in ministry, serving as interim pastor at Boulevard Park Presbyterian Church for 3 years, teaching adult Sunday School, and leading bible studies on site after moving to Judson Park Retirement Community. He will always be remembered for his vivacious personality, good humor, and deep love of God.
Harry would be the first to say that none of this would have been possible without the love of his life, his ‘bride,’ standing beside him for over 69 years of marriage. They were a strong team traveling the world to preach and teach the word of God. Harry faithfully supported his wife Hope MacDonald, as she authored 5 bestselling Christian books. Their deep love for each other, God, and their family was an inspiration to everyone they met.
In third grade, his daughter Debbie wrote this about her dad, “My dad is a man who dreams dreams and does them.” He loved, lived, and dreamed big, and now he is in in the Holy presence of our big God and Savior whom he loved and served his whole life. With arms opened wide we know God welcomed his beloved servant into Glory with these words “Well done my good and faithful servant.”
Harry is survived by his wife, Hope (89), adult children Tom (Wendy), Dan (Linda) and Debbie (Marc), 6 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren. While he will be remembered by many for his dedication to ministry, he will be most remembered by family members as a loving husband, father and grandfather, who took the time to share with them his love of music, enjoyment of learning, passion for life and love for God.