Southern Indiana Living

MAY-JUN 2018

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May/June 2018 • 13 I t wasn't unusual for Jim and Barbara McDonald to see Dr. Bill McDonald pull up to the barn across from their home, jump out of his truck, leave the motor running with the radio blaring and run to take care of one task or another — or maybe two or three. That's just the way he operated, said Lindsay, Dr. Bill's wife of 21 years. "He al- ways went in a run. He never walked." It took a lot of running to pack in everything Dr. Bill accomplished, Jim Mc- Donald said of his son. Besides operating the McDonald Veterinary Clinic, keeping up with his children's activities and other family matters, Dr. Bill, with his father and younger brother, Bob, worked a 1,500-acre beef cattle farm — McDonald Farms on Honey Creek LLC. The 47-year-old veterinarian, of Hardinsburg, died Jan. 29 from injuries sustained in an accident at his home. Be- sides his wife, he leaves three children, his parents, three siblings and nine nieces and nephews, as well as many people across Southern Indiana and beyond whose lives he made better. Dr. Bill was part owner and active in South Central Collision Center, a family- owned operation that performs vehicle diagnostic, repair, and body and restora- tion work, employing seven technicians. He served on the local school board, was active at Paoli Christian Church, and vol- unteered at the Orange County Humane Society, Southern Indiana Animal Rescue, the 4-H Club, Paoli High School FFA and the school's SuperMileage Club, where he participated in the Shell Eco-Marathon. "Bill traveled with the group to a Detroit competition and very much en- joyed interacting with the other teams," Lindsay said. "He even helped a team from another school that didn't have the necessary resources gather supplies. He was excited to share photos he took show- ing what they were able to accomplish." Rustie Timberlake, Dr. Bill's as- sistant for 17 years, said the practice has 23,000 animal owners — about 80 to 90 percent active. "Of course, many owners have multiple animals," she said. "The first year I worked at the clinic, Bill was my boss," Rustie wrote in a note read at the memorial service held at Paoli Christian Church on Feb. 1. "After that, he was my friend and brother. There was not a single day that I did not want to go to work. I loved being there." Three veterinarians are filling in at the clinic, she said, and normal hours are observed. Candidates are being inter- viewed for the full-time veterinarian posi- tion. "The first time clients come in, it is emotional, but once in they seem to feel comfortable." Lynn Nichols, bookkeeper for the clinic, collision center and McDonald Farms, agreed that Dr. Bill was the ideal employer. "I finally had the best boss ever," she said. Lindsay described her husband as selfless. "He never turned down a request for help," she said. "Many of our holi- day or weekend plans were interrupted. If an animal needed help, Bill went. He would help anybody who needed him, sometimes assisting a motorist to charge a battery or pull a vehicle out of a ditch. Once he even took in a stranger traveling through the area and let him stay in our cabin. They became friends and the man returned later to visit." She has received many cards and notes with stories of Dr. Bill's help. "And not just from the local community," she said. "I have heard from people in six or seven states." However, Lindsay said Dr. Bill never looked for recognition or expected any- thing in return. "He would hate all this attention." The couple became acquainted when Lindsay was working at the bank Dr. Bill visited. They connected from their mutual love of horses when they both at- tended a local equestrian event. Their children are Jacob, 17; Mad- elyn, 15; and Joseph, 9. "Bill frequently took the kids to the clinic and on calls," Lindsay said. "He not only instilled in them a need to help others, he also regu- larly involved them in surgeries and other procedures." Jacob, a high school junior, plans a career in engineering; Madelyn is looking to the medical field, wavering between following her father's footsteps as a vet- erinarian and becoming a nurse. Joseph is a bit young to be career-minded, but will likely follow in his dad's footsteps and at- tend Purdue University, his mother said. "Everything was big with Bill," Lindsay said. "There was nothing small. He took care of everybody. He was a lead- er." His siblings agree. "He was the ring- leader," said his sister Susan Umpleby, an attorney with Umpleby Attorneys PC in Paoli. "We were his willing followers. It was a great adventure to be Bill's sister." Those early adventures included building a hut in the woods and entre- preneurial undertakings with eggs and strawberries. Bill was about 13 when he with Su- san, then 10, Bob, 9 and their little brother, David, about 2, climbed the steep hill next to the family's farm home. They were led "He never turned down a request for help. Many of our holiday or weekend plans were interrupted. If an animal needed help, Bill went. He would help anyone who needed him." - Lindsay McDonald

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