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William "Bill" McDonald

December 25, 1938 ~ March 8, 2023 (age 84) 84 Years Old

William McDonald Obituary

William Joseph McDonald, “Bill”, 84, of Zumbrota, passed away peacefully on March 8, 2023, at Cottagewood Senior Communities.

Bill was born December 25, 1938, in Aberdeen, SD to Charles and Ruth (Ostrom) McDonald. As a young boy, Bill and his family moved to Reads Landing, on the Mississippi River, where he would learn the ways of the river. After serving his country in the U.S. Amy, Bill went on to meet the love of his life, Paula Ellinghuysen at Winona State University. Bill and Paula were married on August 29, 1964, in Stewartville, MN.  Bill taught elementary school in Pepin for a couple years before he became the guidance counselor in the Zumbrota school district, where he would spend the rest of his career. In retirement Bill and Paula spent several winters in Arizona and summers playing golf with longtime friends Roger and Kathy Hollman.

Bill was gentle, full of kindness and always had a positive word to say to others. He also had a knack for making others feel that they were being heard. Bill was quietly funny yet deeply private. He had a passion for golfing, fishing, Louis L’Amour novels and gardening.  Above all, Bill loved spending time with his family, especially his wife Paula. He was immensely proud of his sons, and his granddaughter Riley held a very special place in his heart. Lifelong Bill was drawn to the water and believed “The River always brings you back.”

Bill is survived by his wife of 58 years, Paula; sons, Bill (Kelsey) McDonald of Minneapolis, MN, Bob (Mary) McDonald of Duluth, MN, Tom (Jessalyn) Finch (McDonald) of Rochester, MN; granddaughter, Riley McDonald; brother-in-law Richard Ellinghuysen; sisters-in-law, Darlene McDonald and Joanie McDonald and Bonnie Renken and Gloria Ellinghuysen and numerous nieces and nephews. Bill was preceded in death by his brothers, Charles E. and Ralph J. McDonald; sister, Anne Mitteness, and brother-in-law Gary Ellinghuysen, and by his parents.

A time to remember and celebrate Bill’s life will be held 11:00 AM Friday, April 21, 2023, at United Redeemer Lutheran Church, 560 W. 3rd St., Zumbrota, MN 55992. Visitation will be held from 9:30 AM until time of the service. The Dr. Rev. Marggi Pleiss Sippola will be officiating, and burial will be held at a later date at Riverview Cemetery in Wabasha, MN. Memorial contributions may be made in memory of Bill to the Minnesota Conservation Volunteer, DNR, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155. To share a special memory or condolence, please visit 

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April 21, 2023

9:30 AM to 11:00 AM
United Redeemer Lutheran Church
560 West 3rd Street
Zumbrota, MN

Celebration of Life
April 21, 2023

11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
United Redeemer Lutheran Church
560 West 3rd Street
Zumbrota, MN


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