WHITE STONE—Donal E. “Mac” McGonegal, 88, of White Stone died September 4, 2018.
An honor graduate of Ephrata High School in Ephrata, Wash., he attended Central Washington University for two years before accepting an appointment to the United States Naval Academy. He graduated in 1955 with a bachelor’s of science in naval engineering and proceeded to naval flight training, winning his Navy Wings in 1956.
During the following 10 years he made multiple deployments with the Pacific Fleet, serving in Vietnam and as a liaison with the Royal Thai Navy. Flying the S-2 Tracker and the C-1A Trader, he made over 1000 carrier landings. From 1960-1964 he earned a master’s in nuclear engineering from the Navy Post Graduate School, with a follow-on tour as an instructor.
In 1967, as a lieutenant commander, he resigned his commission. Mac joined Atlantic Research Corporation in Alexandria, for 20 years, culminating his career as an aerospace program manager.
In 1987, Mac and wife Hennie moved from Northern Virginia to White Stone. Both were active in local choral groups and church choirs at White Stone United Methodist Church and Kilmarnock United Methodist Church. Mac filled multiple official positions at both of these churches.
A passionate advocate of reading, he volunteered in Northern Virginia and Lancaster County to teach reading to foreign students, jail populations and county children. He served as treasurer for the Mosquito Point Property Owners Association for many years and as the membership chairman of the Virginia Aeronautical Historical Society. He enjoyed a long career as a docent at Historic Christ Church.
Mac and Hennie were life partners in the fullest sense. Meeting on a blind date at Annapolis, the Navy took them all around the country. During his career in Northern Virginia, they raised their children and joined together in supporting scouts, sports, school and church activities.
With their retirement to White Stone, they enjoyed traveling, venturing to Europe, Egypt, Alaska, Hawaii, Australia and Israel. Throughout their lives they enjoyed the company of their extended family in Alexandria and Mosquito Creek. Countless summer evenings ended with music on the porch, the cousins singing and playing and Mac adding his classic “gut bucket.”
Mac was a lifelong learner with a passion for history, politics and archeology. He was a biblical scholar with an extensive library that filled many shelves of his Mosquito Creek home.
He maintained a love of aviation and never said no to a chance to see an airshow or visit an aviation museum. He balanced his literary life with his passion for the outdoors. An avid fisherman and boater, he instilled these loves in his children and his grandchildren. Many a summer day was spent baiting hooks, removing fish and cleaning the catch—always with a smile.
Mac was preceded in death by his parents, Goldie and Claude McGonegal, and his wife of 59 years, Helen Roberts McGonegal.
He is survived by two children, daughter, Lori M. Tyler of Lancaster and son, Donal C. McGonegal (Amy) of Havelock, N.C.; grandchildren, Adam N. Sabin (Tara), Ethan N. Sabin (Jenny) and Emily B. Strasler (Brandon); and great-grandchildren, Eli, Penny, Coleman, Regan and Graham.
He is survived also by his sister, Jeri K. Gildehaus (Jerry) of Puyallup, Wash.; nieces, Ande R. Niedermayer, Patricia R. Lowe (Eric), Shelly G. Hanks and Lonni G. Marlow (Barry); nephews, Robert G. Roberts (Barbie) and Andrew V. Gildehaus (Jennifer); twelve great-nieces and great-nephews and one great-great-niece.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, September 22, at Kilmarnock United Methodist Church. In lieu of flowers, please make any donations to the Kilmarnock United Methodist Church Music Fund, P.O. Box 2095, Kilmarnock, VA 22482.
The family would like to thank the staffs of Rappahannock Westminster-Canterbury, Rappahannock General Hospital and Kilmarnock Volunteer Rescue Squad for their kind and professional care.
Currie Funeral Home LLC of Kilmarnock handled the arrangements.