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California Genealogy and History Archives


San Bernardino County


Marjorie F. McDonald

On Aug. 9, 2013, Marjorie Florence McDonald left this world to be with her heavenly father. Marge was born in Weymouth, Mass., on Aug. 18, 1921, to Julius and Eunice Tharp, and was the oldest of three children. 

Marge was a graduate of William & Mary University with a degree in Business and Radio Electronics, and was one of the first two women to enlist in the United States Army (WAC) in August 1942 (WW II), becoming First Sergeant of the 108th WAC Unit. Marge married James S. McDonald in 1944, and after giving birth to her son, Dwight, in May 1946, she received an honorable discharge from the Army. Marge then took her young son and moved to San Francisco, Calif., in 1947, and started working for Safeway Grocery Stores, becoming a manager within six months. In 1953, Marge moved to Los Angeles (Panorama City) and was immediately hired by Quality Foods as personnel director and assistant buyer. While working for Quality Foods, Marge attended and completed law school, and upon completion of law school, was hired by Hughes Market as an advertising manager.

In 1960, Gelson's Markets hired Marge as a hiring, training, and bookkeeping coordinator. To fill in her spare time, Marge studied Real Estate Management, and went to the Wilton school of cake decorating in Chicago, graduating number one in her class.

In 1977, Marge retired to Big Bear (Sugarloaf), and during the next 36 years worked for the San Bernardino County Court in Big Bear, became the mountain representative for County Supervisor Barbra Riordan, served on numerous boards and commissions, was president of the Big Bear City Community Services District, Worthy Matron of the Order of the Eastern Star, Rotary Member, CHP Senior Volunteer originator for Big Bear, responsible for acquiring the Sugarloaf Post Office, and baked numerous wedding cakes from her home, better known as "Grammas Sugar Shack." She was truly admired, respected, and a driving force behind the growth and development in the Big Bear area, having an endless passion for the Big Bear community. Her love of Big Bear was second only to her love of family, whom she loved unconditionally. She was loved and will be missed.

Marge was preceded in death by her father, mother, and younger brother, Julius Tharp. Marge is survived by her family: younger sister Hattie Foltz (Peter) of Norfolk, Va., son, Dwight McDonald (Janene), grandson Adam McDonald, granddaughter Amy McDonald, great granddaughters Alexandra Albin, and Daisy Alago of Valencia, Calif., nieces Brenda Michaels (Tom) of Norfolk, Va., Cindy Pitman (Mel) of Duluth, Ga., Wanda Gaston (Carrie) of College Station, Texas, and nephew Vincent Tharp of Penole, Calif. A very dear friend and caregiver, Jerry Lemke, and neighbors that were her extended family, Binky & George Grabe, Harold Clark, and Barbara Harris, of Sugarloaf, Calif. Much thanks to their selfless love and friendship.

In lieu of flowers, donations in the name of Marge McDonald can be made to: The Master's College, 21726 Placerita Canyon Road, Santa Clarita, CA 91321

Celebration of Life Service, Aug. 18 at 4 p.m. at Summit - Assembly of God Church, 41965 Garstin Dr., Big Bear Lake, CA 92315.

"Big Bear Grizzly" Posted: Thursday, August 15, 2013 10:30 am
Submitted by: Peggy Hooper