John Thomas McDonald

July 5, 1927 ~ April 21, 2023

John Thomas McDonald

John Thomas McDonald – dedicated husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle, cousin and friend, passed away on Friday, April 21, 2023 in the family home in which he was born, surrounded by loved ones. He was 95 years old.


John (aka Dad, Pop, Grandpa, Grumpa, Great Grandpa, Johnny T, Tom, Tommy, and Mac) was born to Edward and Marian (Brugger) McDonald in Folsom, CA on July 5, 1927.  He graduated from Folsom High School in 1945 before enlisting in the Navy as WW2 was still being fought.  He served four years as a Gunners Mate on the USN Astoria.


Upon honorable discharge from the Navy John returned home to the love of his life, Thelma Ann Randall, whom he met while attending Folsom High. They married on April 16, 1950 and made their home in Sacramento. They welcomed their first child in 1951 and the family eventually grew to seven with the births of four more children.


Love of God and Family came above all else in John’s life. John and Thelma sent all five of their children to St. Peter’s Catholic Elementary School and were active members of St. Peter’s Catholic Church.


John loved sports ~ he ran track and played basketball and baseball at Folsom High. He held the record in the 880 for many years and won an area invitational at Hughes Stadium. John took special pride in watching his Grandsons excel in the sports he so loved in his youth.  He was an avid 49er, SF Giants and Kings fan, and enjoyed hunting with his sons and uncles.  He was filled with pride in watching his son Neal compete in Beep Baseball and became an Umpire to help support the team.


Swimming played a huge role in the lives of the McDonald children, grandchildren and now great grandchildren, with several of them going on to swim in college.  John kept track of their progress and could tell you what their best times were. He was a constant figure at swim meets and knew everyone.  At his children’s local pool, Manor Recreation, John was at every swim meet for years. He worked as Starter and any other “job” necessary to make the swim meets flow smoothly, as well as participating on the Board of Directors.


John worked as a Gas Serviceman/Mechanic at PG&E for nearly forty years.  Upon retirement, he enjoyed traveling with Thelma. Nothing meant more however, than spending time with his large extended family and friends; whether to enjoy a meal, a game of cards, or lend a helping hand. John was a constant at the family home in Folsom that his father had built in 1912, helping Mark and Celia with the ongoing remodel.  He never had to be asked, he just showed up with his tool belt, donuts, and endless helpful knowledge. In similar fashion, John helped Dave and Denise build a countertop bar in their kitchen. No project was out of his realm of competence.


John and Thelma also helped with childcare for all of their grandchildren. Harold’s daughter, Cristina, spent many days with them at their home after school. She & Grandpa had a shared love of teasing one another.  Tuesdays were extra-special for Rhonda & Tony’s kids because Grandpa picked them up from school and walked home with them, pockets full of treats and milkshakes in the freezer.  ALL of his Grandchildren had a special fondness for the pink box he would bring on visits . . . donuts! Homemade iced cream at his house was a special treat. He always wanted to have something to offer those around him, always thinking of others before himself.


John is predeceased by his loving wife Thelma, son David, granddaughter Cristina, and his siblings Donald McDonald, Mary Theis, and Janet Page.  He is survived by his children: Harold, Mark (Celia), Rhonda (Tony), Neal, daughter-in-law Denise; nine grandchildren: Travis (Hillery), Brennan (Meghan), Shelby (Ryan), John (Amber), Daniel (Alex), Matthew, Mikayla (Tommy), Jacob, and Joshua, as well as eleven great grandchildren: Mason, Nicholas, Reese, Kate, Shea, Sloan, Celia, Maverick, Michael, Adeline, Thomas, and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.


We will all greatly miss his quick wit, impish smile, and warm heart.


St. Mary’s Funeral Center, 6509 Fruitridge Road, Sacramento

Viewing/Rosary:  Wednesday, May 17th @ 6:30pm

Funeral Mass:      Thursday, May 18th @10:00 am

Luncheon to follow in the banquet room at St. Mary’s