Obituary: Colin Campbell McDonald, M.D.

Esteemed neurosurgeon, sailor, traveler

Colin Campbell McDonald, M.D., died peacefully in his sleep of natural causes March 10 at the age of 93.

He had been a Claremont resident for more than 50 years before moving to Arizona. Born on June 18, 1929 in Chapleau, Ontario, Canada, Dr. McDonald had more than 67 years of experience in the medical field as a neurosurgeon. He graduated from University of Manitoba School of Medicine in 1956 and from the Mayo Clinic in Neurological Surgery in 1960. He proudly became a U.S. citizen in the mid-1970s.

Colin started his practice in Pomona shortly after graduation from the Mayo Clinic. He then expanded it to include doctors Brown, Lederhaus, Disney, and Rodriguez. He held various hospital leadership positions including head of surgery.

One of his highest honors came when the Secret Service visited his office and asked, “Would you serve the President of the United States?” he said, “Of course.” Thus he was placed on standby if President Nixon were to suffer a brain injury while in the Southern California area.

His practice philosophy was “I may not have always had the results of the surgery I performed, but I never did a case that I didn’t feel needed to be done.” He saved many lives during his career.

“What made Colin special was his intellectual curiosity, friendly spirit and caring nature,” his family shared. “Colin was a great friend to many and made everyone feel comfortable, no matter what their background.”

He was an avid reader and loved nature, boating, fishing, and traveling. He sailed his boat “Nipigon” to the South Pacific and Tahiti twice, and spent a lot of time at Catalina Island. In his younger days he was a hiker and skier. Later, he took up golf. He traveled the world and owned a condominium in Manzanillo, Mexico. He was fluent in three languages, English, French, and Spanish.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Joyce McDonald; brother, Alexander McDonald; and mother, Eveyln McDonald.

He is survived by daughters Susan McDonald, Barbara Hochgesang, and Patti Schmicking; four grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and later life partner LaDonna Slade.

His family and friends will miss him greatly.

The family is planning a private celebration of life between Newport Beach and Catalina Island.


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