Southern Indiana Living

MAY-JUN 2018

Southern Indiana Living magazine is the exclusive publication of the region, offering readers a wide range of coverage on the people, places and events that make our area unlike any other. In SIL readers will find beautiful photography, encouraging s

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May/June 2018 • 17 often helped clean up the dishes after our dinners." Dr. Bill had talents besides caring for animals. His acting abilities were evident at a young age when he portrayed Tiny Tim in a Christmas play at church. He also played the Velveteen Rabbit in an elemen- tary school production. Later on, Bill was Dr. Peppo in a Share-the-Fun 4-H comedy skit, written by his father, which advanced to state competition. Later, he played the role of Jesus in a church Passion Play. He had a beautiful voice and frequently sang in church. Bill was valedictorian of his high school senior class and went on to earn honors at Purdue University, where he was named Top Surgeon and Most Com- passionate in his graduating veterinarian class. A 10-year 4-H Club member, Bill raised turkeys, geese, ducks and rare chickens, taking on several projects over the years. "He liked to try lots of different things, and would often calculate what project would reap the most awards," said Barbara. He was an FFA Star Farmer, plac- ing him in the state's top three honorees. Dr. Bill continued to support the 4-H program and assist his children with their projects. Susan laughingly recalled a time when she and her brother were help- ing their children at a 4-H Fair. "There we were," she said, "the lawyer and the vet- erinarian, standing side-by-side washing pigs and wondering where our kids had gone." Her brother was a regular guy, Su- san recalled. "He liked to watch 'Saturday Night Live' and laugh about the skits with his siblings over Sunday dinner. He liked to listen to the Eagles and the Carpenters. He loved music and loved to sing along." She added, "It was not uncommon for Bill to grab someone's car keys and pull their vehicle to the door after church so they wouldn't have to walk out in the cold or the rain. He was very good at see- ing where he could help and what was needed, and then taking action. He also understood the importance of maintain- ing relationships and would stop to visit while out on farm calls, even stopping to see his kindergarten teacher last fall." Bill always put a positive spin on things, Bob remembered. Even when he got the end of his middle finger cut off, Bill found a bright spot, he said. "I walked in and he was doing surgery. He looked up and said 'this is awesome,' and he explained to me that a particular sur- gical tool fit his hand better after the ac- cident." The two brothers worked closely to- gether and talked daily. "He always made me feel better about things," Bob said. "He wasn't afraid to try anything, and if he failed he would try another way. He'd say, 'We'll figure it out.' And he usually would." Bob recalled that one of their favor- ite times of the year was hay season. "We loved being in the hay fields together with our dad, and often other family members helped as well," he said. While his career as a pharmacist claims much of his time, Bob continues to work on the farm. "I feel better when I am working around the place," he said. "I want to keep up what Bill started so his kids can enjoy it." Bill's youngest brother, David, also shared his pride in Bill's character, "I'm re- ally proud of what Bill accomplished," he said. "No one realized the magnitude of it until after he was gone." Susan added: "Bill was a big per- sonality. And a big personality leaves big shoes to fill, but we are doing our best, whether it is helping his wife and kids, keeping up the farm and businesses or supporting his causes." Lindsay said they have raised $45,000 for Paoli High School's FFA Build the Barn project, and that was before a March 12 fundraiser at El Compadre Res- taurant in Paoli and T-shirt sales were held to benefit the project. Also, $15,000 has been raised for the Orange County Humane Society in Dr. Bill's honor. The family's strong faith is helping them cope with their loss. A Facebook post by Susan attests to this. "We cannot begin to understand how or why something like this could happen. Only God knows how all the pieces are supposed to fit together. He puts those pieces together and reveals the final pic- ture to us in His time. Bill was a Christian and we take great comfort in knowing he walked with God in life and has now "It was not uncommon for Bill to grab someone's car keys and pull their vehicle to the door after church so they wouldn't have to walk out in the cold or the rain. He was very good at seeing where he could help and what was needed, and then taking action." - Susan Umpleby, sister of Bill McDonald

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