Michael David McDonald
Michael David McDonald died at home on Sunday, October 21st under the loving care of his wife and daughter. Despite battling cancer for several years, he embraced life and a loving heart throughout.
Michael was born November 22, 1949 in Seattle to Duane T. McDonald and Dorothy (Schwab) McDonald and was the eldest of three children, Pat (deceased 1995) and Heather. He grew up on Mercer Island and graduated high school with the class of 1967 after having a wonderful horizon-expanding experience as a foreign exchange student in Bremen, Germany. He attended University of Washington for several years and also worked in Alaska on tug boats during the summers.
In 1973 he moved to Bellingham where he lived for twelve years. He studied diesel mechanics at the Bellingham Technical School. Mike was active during the formation of the Bellingham Food Cooperative and the People’s Land Trust, and worked as a mechanic. He also was a member of the Holy Smokers, a Forest Service “causal employee” Fire Fighting Crew that was the first known instance of a gender balanced and Democratically organized fire crew.
He met his wife, Marty Eckrem, in 1978. They married and their daughter Amy was born in 1983. They moved to Berkeley where Marty continued her studies. Then they moved to Flagstaff, Arizona where she started her health education career. Their family lived in Flagstaff for 26 years where Mike worked as a mechanic at the Snow Bowl ski area for six years. He studied at the Northern Arizona University and then worked for 15 years as a biology consultant conducting environmental impact studies. Providing protection for desert tortoises, spotted owls and various endangered species was his specialty. Finally, they moved back to Bellingham in 2015, which they considered their life-long home.
Mike was a devoted father and grandfather to his daughter, Amy McEckrem (Flagstaff) and her three children Gabe, Mia and Lucca. Shared special experiences with them will provide cherished memories.
Mike loved the outdoors, was an avid hiker, skier, river rafter and conservationist. He was a man full of wonder who pursued his love of natural sciences by working outdoors and continual self-learning. He will be missed and treasured by his family and many friends for his spontaneity, friendship, frankness, resourcefulness, intellectual curiosity and sense of adventure.
Many thanks to his healthcare providers at Peace Health, Virginia Mason Hospital, and Whatcom Hospice.