Cover photo for J. Samuel McDonald, Sr.'s Obituary
J. Samuel McDonald, Sr. Profile Photo
1934 J. 2022

J. Samuel McDonald, Sr.

October 19, 1934 — March 13, 2022


J. Samuel (Sam) McDonald, Sr. 87, died at home with his family by his side on March 13, 2022. Born in Manchester, NH on October 19, 1934, to Norman (Ben) and Doris (Milligan) McDonald. He was the oldest of three children.  Sam lived his entire life in Manchester, with the exception of three years in the United States Army from 1953-1956. He graduated from Central High School class of 1952, and from the New Hampshire Technical Institute, class of 1958 as an Advertising Sign Artist.

Sam was the husband of Marilyn (Woodward) McDonald. They were married on June 14, 1958, at the Merrimack Street Baptist Church in Manchester, NH; celebrating 63 ½ years together. 

He is also survived by a daughter, Cynthia (Cindee) McDonald of Manchester, NH, two sons, Jeffrey S. McDonald and wife Annette, of California  and James S. McDonald, Jr. and wife Tami, of Manchester, NH. Sam is also survived by his sisters, Marjory (McDonald) Jarry of Merrimack, NH and Jeanne (McDonald) Lovering of Florida.  Sam’s grandchildren include Tyler McDonald, Joshua McDonald and wife Madison and Sean McDonald, all of California; Brianna McDonald of Massachusetts; Alexis McDonald, of Texas and Marcus Nelson of New Hampshire. His only great grandchild is Blakely McDonald from California.  He is also survived by many nieces, nephews and other family members.

Sam worked for Grand Union Company as a Layout Artist for six years before going to work for the Manchester Union Leader as Assistant Circulation Manager and Advertising Layout Artist. He retired from the newspaper after 40 1/2 years of service.

He volunteered his time with the Granite State Ambassadors Organization for 10 years, serving at the Manchester Boston Airport Information Center. He also volunteered as an usher along with his wife Marilyn at the Palace Theater.

He enjoyed many passions and interests including traveling, eating at restaurants, anything related to Disney, gardening and playing his organ.  He loved to travel throughout various places in the US including Hawaii, California, Texas and throughout the northeast.   His favorite travel companions included his wife, sister-in-law, Carolyn and her husband Fred with their most memorable trip being a 3 week adventure to Alaska with friends knowns as the “Texas 8.” 

Sam learned to play the Lowrey Organ over 10 years ago, joining a group called "Keys to Fun," consisting of senior citizens over 55, under the direction of Mr. Tom Arnold. Both Sam and his wife looked forward to being in the group every Tuesday afternoon.  Sam practiced his organ lessons for hours and became quite proficient.

He was predeceased by his parents Norman (Ben) McDonald and Doris (Milligan) McDonald, brother-in-law Arlen Jarry, brother-in-law Vernon Lovering, sister-in-law Carolyn (Woodward) Newton and nephew Robert Jarry, sister-in-law Lois (Woodward) Hofer, brother-in-law Herbert Hofer, uncles Woodrow and Donald McDonald, aunts Violet, Dora, Eva, Ruth McDonald.

Sam was a loving, kind and gentle human being who had an infectious laugh, quick wit and caring spirit.  Everyone who met him loved him.  He will be greatly missed by all.  

The family would especially like to thank the staff of Elliot Palliative Care and Manchester VNA/Hospice for their exceptional care and concern.  Of particular note, the family expresses great appreciation to Nancy Furgerson, RN, and Michelle Desjardin, RN, for their kindness and caring ways that made the final days so much better for Sam and his family.

SERVICES: A graveside service will take place at the New Hampshire State Veterans Cemetery in Boscawen, NH, at a later date. 

In lieu of flowers, those who wish may make a memorial contribution to the NH Veteran Cemetery Association, care of James Samuel McDonald, Sr. (US Army SP4), to Elliot Palliative Care or Manchester VNA/Hospice.

Phaneuf Funeral Homes and Crematorium assisted the family with arrangements. To view an online memorial, leave a message of condolence, or for more information please go to


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