Obituary for Barbara Jean McDonald
SPRUCE HEAD, MAINE - On Tuesday, December 12, 2017, Barbara “Jean” (McCatherin) McDonald passed away peacefully at Quarry Hill Memory Care Unit in Camden. She was 80 years young.
She was born in Lewiston, Maine to Dougald Stewart and Emma Mary (Gaudin) McCatherin. The family lived in Auburn until Jean was eight years old and then moved to Augusta.
At a very early age in Auburn, Jean developed a passion for dance. In Augusta she performed in many local shows including Horace Heidt Show, Elks Frolics, and Cony High School’s Chizzle Wizzle. She graduated from Cony High School in 1955 and then started the McCatherin School of Dance in Augusta. Over a four year period she built her dance school to more than 200 students. During this time she was a participant at the Jack Stanley and June Taylor School of Dance in New York City. At the age of 36 while living at United States Coast Guard base Governors Island Jean launched and operated a dance school for six years. She was a member of the National Association of Dance and Affiliated Arts.
In 1959 she married the love of her life, James Lane McDonald of Hallowell, Maine. Jim graduated from the United States Coast Guard Academy as an officer in 1959 and together they started a family and a life of travel and adventure. This included raising five children and making seventeen moves that ranged from Portland, Maine; Kodiak, Alaska; New London, Connecticut, Monterey, California, Governors Island, New York; Boston, Massachusetts and London, England to name a few.
Jean reveled at being a military wife. She was an enthusiastic participant in the Officers’ Wives Club wherever they were stationed. As President of the Boston Officers’ Wives Club, she was honored by the Commandant of the United States Coast Guard with the “Order of the Golden Swivel Shot”. This significant recognition exemplified her unwavering support for her husband’s career.
Even with all of their travels Maine was always home. In 1969 they purchased a cottage on the ocean in Spruce Head, Maine and treasured their summers there. It was a focal point for wonderful family gatherings filled with joy and laughter. The cottage became their year-round home in 2014.
She is survived by her husband of 58 years James Lane McDonald, five children, James L. Jr. (Althea), Julie Anne (Ross), Jeffrey, Jane (Susan) and John (Kelly). Jean will also be fondly remembered by her six grandchildren Audrey, Katie, Jenni, Nicole, Joanna and John Jr., by her two brothers John P. McCatherin and Charles S. McCatherin and sister Keltie J. Collins. She is predeceased by her sister Carol Martin.
Donations may be made to: United States Coast Guard Academy Alumni Association, 47 Mohegan Avenue, New London, CT. 06320-8111 in memory of Barbara Jean McDonald.
A celebration of Barbara Jean’s life will be held on Tuesday, December 19th at 11:00 a.m. with a reception to follow at Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral home located at 110 Limerock Street in Rockland, Maine.
For those that will not be able to attend, a live stream of the service can be viewed at http://bchfh.com/. You can also post memories and pictures of Barbara Jean at this site.