Frank R McDonald
Flight Ops - Captain
 Mar 27, 2011

 

 

Captain Frank Ronald McDONALD Age 92, passed away peacefully in his sleep on March 27th. At his side was Beatrice (Bea), his high-school sweetheart and wife of 67 years, along with other loving members of his family. Frank was born on May 9, 1918, in Seattle, to Nellie and Joseph McDonald. His family moved to Bothell when he was 12 and he graduated from Bothell High School in 1936. He went on to the University of Washington, knowing even then that he wanted to be a pilot. However, his career of choice came sooner than anticipated; when the U.S. entered World War II he left college to join the navy and was trained as an aviator. Frank was assigned to the Pacific Fleet and distinguished himself in combat as a dive bomber during the Battle of the Coral Sea and in the Southwest Pacific with Air Group 12's Fighter Squadron. For his "outstanding courage, daring airmanship, and devotion to duty," Frank was awarded the Purple Heart, the Navy Cross, and twice, the Distinguished Flying Cross. Frank left the Navy with the rank of Captain, returned to Seattle, married Bea, and went to work with his brother Leonard at the family business, McDonald and Company. However, Frank couldn't stay out of the sky for long. After two years, he accepted a job with West Coast Airlines and started a 30-year career as a commercial pilot, becoming a captain for the second time. One notable event occurred when a man hijacked the plane Frank was co-piloting and tried to duplicate D.B. Cooper's feat by demanding money and then parachuting from the plane when in flight. This time, thanks to radio communications from Frank, who flew the plane and kept authorities informed as the pilot dealt with the hijacker, the police were waiting for the parachutist when he landed. The Seattle Times described Frank as a "cool cat" for his calm handling of this incident. In addition to flying, Frank had many other interests. He and Bea enjoyed dancing, going to the symphony, and travelling throughout the United States and Europe. On three occasions they visited Frank's brother Joseph who was Dean of Medicine at the American University Hospital in Beirut, Lebanon. He also enjoyed working on projects around his house, first on Princeton Way in Seattle and later in Medina. Then when he and Bea moved to Kirkland, Frank was an active member of their condominium association. His biggest undertaking was building a house. In 1952 he purchased property at Tulare Beach, north of Seattle, and built the house where the Frank McDonald family would spend every summer and where a 4th of July reunion would be held each year. Frank's family and relatives have many fond memories of these times spent together. He is preceded in death by his mother, father, and three brothers, George, Leonard, and Joseph. He is survived by his wife Bea, children Doug, Dean and Marilyn, 4 grandchildren, 1 great-grandchild, and many nieces and nephews.