Ray and Helen McDonaldBeloved TPC member Ray McDonald entered the Church Triumphant on March 24, 2017.

Memorial Service • Thursday, March 30, 7 p.m., Sanctuary
Visitation • Thursday, March 30, 5:30 p.m., Sanctuary
Committal Service • Friday, March 31, 11:30 a.m., U.S. Military Cemetery, Bushnell

Payton Ray McDonald, Jr. was a true Southern gentleman who loved God, his family and his country. He passed away peacefully, surrounded by his wife and family.

Ray was born in Birmingham, AL in 1931, the only son of Payton Ray McDonald, Sr. and Mary Hannah Kirkwood McDonald. He had four sisters: Mary Ann McDonald Blake (deceased); Jean McDonald Capps (deceased); Doris McDonald Tate; and Elizabeth McDonald Jenkins.

Ray met his beloved wife Helen through Christian Endeavor at the Wylam Presbyterian Church (near Birmingham) in 1948. They married at that same church in 1951 and celebrated 65 years of loving and laughing together last year.

Ray and Helen were blessed with four children: Ray McDonald, III (Laurie); Cathi Patton; Teri Sietsma (David); and Bob McDonald (Cheryl). Their family also includes nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Ray McDonald - youngRay attended the University of Alabama on a track scholarship, where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Upon graduation, he joined the U.S. Army, serving in the Signal Corps. He retired as a full colonel after 28 years.

Ray and Helen moved to Orlando in 1981, and Ray began his second career as a planning manager at Martin Marietta. They moved to Winter Springs in 1987.

A man of God and family, Ray was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and brother. As is customary in the military, the McDonalds moved frequently. Every move to a new duty station was made by way of Birmingham to visit family.

The McDonalds have lived and traveled all over the world. In addition to his mainland duty stations, Ray was able to take his family on assignments in Taiwan, Germany and Hawaii. He also served in Vietnam and Korea. Ray and Helen have been to all 50 states, usually traveling by car.

Ray and Helen joined Tuskawilla Presbyterian Church in 1982. Ray was an ordained elder who served on the Buildings & Grounds Committee, went on numerous mission trips, delivered Meals on Wheels, was a founding member of the Band of Brothers (a men’s Bible study and fellowship group) and served in many other ways. He was the project manager for the planning and construction of TPC’s sanctuary, a huge job that he tackled with his usual patience, good cheer and professionalism. The McDonald Conference Room bears his name as a testament to the love and respect the congregation has for him.

Ray had a great sense of humor. He loved to smile, laugh and tell jokes. He was a quiet, unsung hero, mentoring more people than can be counted. He could fix anything and hated to throw things away. He loved golf, traveling, collecting trains, playing cards and treating his wife like a princess.

A celebration of Ray’s life will be held at Tuskawilla Presbyterian Church, 3600 Aloma Ave. (SR 426), Oviedo, on Thursday, March 30. Visitation and viewing at 5:30-7 p.m.; service at 7 p.m.

Ray McDonald will be laid to rest on Friday, March 31, 11:30 a.m., at the U.S. Military Cemetery in Bushnell.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Ray’s memory to Wounded Warriors.

Comments left below will be forwarded to Helen.