Cecile Reed McDonald Obituary

Cecile Reed McDonald
Cecile Reed McDonald, 84, died peacefully Dec. 10, 2003, in San Angelo.   Funeral services will be conducted at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 13, at the O.T. Jones Auditorium on the Sterling City school campus.

Services are under the direction of Ross Funeral Home of Sterling City and will be conducted by Rick Cunningham and Don Davis.  The family and Cecile will be at the home of LeRuth and Danny Stewart, on the Robert Lee Highway in Sterling City, prior to the services.  Lunch will be provided for out-of-town guests and friends at the Sterling City Community Center.

The only child of pioneer Sterling County ranchers Bill and Neita Reed, Mrs. McDonald was born on the family ranch June 29, 1919.  With the exception of a few years, Cecile lived her entire life on the ranch until health problems caused her to move to San Angelo two years ago.  Her love for the ranch never left, and until her death, she wanted to return to the land she loved.

A 1936 graduate of Sterling City High School, she attended Abilene Christian College, graduating with honors in 1940.

It was there she met her husband, Chesley McDonald, and they were married in August 1940. Both recognized leaders in college, Cecile and Chesley continued to develop and lead as examples throughout their lives.  After Chesley's death in 1992, Cecile continued to exhibit the Christian example that marked the couple's life.

Chesley and Cecile remained life-long supporters of Abilene Christian University. He served many years on the ACU Board of Trustees, and she was the vibrant spirit for many spontaneous gatherings of food and fellowship.  When Chesley gave the renowned "speeches," she provided the refreshments and jovial fellowship.

The friendships Cecile and Chesley developed in college became part of an Abilene Christian University (ACU) legacy known as the "Cisco Kids." These college friendships remained a vital part of their lives.

After Army service in World War II, Cecile and Chesley returned to Sterling City in 1946 where he joined his father-in-law, Bill Reed, in ranching.  Both were well-known cattle breeders and judges of Hereford cattle. After his father-in law's death, Chesley took over the operations of the ranch, but Cecile remained the driving force, cooking countless meals for ranch hands, shearing crews and friends, while driving her children 20 miles to and from school every day.

Until ill health prevented, Granny and Daddy Ches loved nothing more than taking scenic dusk drives around the ranch, taking children and grandchildren on picnics and ranch outings.

Always involved in community activities, Cecile served as district president and state officer for the PTA in the 1950s and 1960s. A member of countless boards and committees, she was a major compiler of "Milling Around Sterling County," a history of the community.

The American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the Sterling County Nursing Home, the Noratadata Club, women's clubs in Big Spring and San Angelo, Women for ACU and numerous other associations were the beneficiaries of her support.

Cecile was a Bible scholar who spoke at women's conferences throughout Texas and the Southwest, inspiring listeners who appreciated her common sense approach to Christianity and service.

Cecile and Chesley were honored with numerous awards, but she was proudest of her family being named the first recipient of the Outstanding Family of Sterling County in the late 1960s.

Abilene Christian University honored Cecile and Chesley with the Christian Service Award in 1989. For all the awards they received, Chesley never failed to recognize his wife as the spirit behind the family's community service.

Cecile's true legacy will be her remarkable hospitality. A gifted cook, she entertained literally thousands in her ranch home, always providing food and a warm welcome for national and international visitors.  Her standard greeting, "come into this house," remains a family legend. Even as she aged, Cecile continued to deliver food to shut-ins and needy throughout the surrounding counties. Her food, cakes and candies are legendary.

No one will ever know the physical and financial support Cecile and Ches provided for relatives, missionaries, college students and needy families throughout their lives.

A beautiful person, physically and spiritually, Cecile leaves a history of service and devotion for countless family and friends.  Her survivors include her children, Dr. Don McDonald and Sandy of San Antonio; Celia Davis and Merrell of Abilene; Jeanie Bird and Bill of San Angelo; and her cousin and child of her heart, LeRuth Stewart and Danny of Sterling City.

She was "Granny" to Kevin and Nathalie McDonald of San Antonio; Greg and Apryl McDonald of San Angelo; Nicole and Chance Blythe of Waxahaxie; Jena and Bill Price of Lampasas; Will and Wesley Davis of Abilene; Heath and Erin Hughes of Sterling City; Hayley and Bart Mason of Post; and Reed and Rhonda Stewart of Sterling City.

She was preceded in death by her husband and Rene Stewart.  Great grandchildren blessed her in her last years including Chesley McDonald, Maycie McDonald, Bryson and Celie Price, Hunter and Dillon Hughes, Cade and Mallory Mason, and Rope and Riggin Stewart of Sterling City. Every child in the Sterling City Church of Christ, as well as most of Sterling City, called her "Granny," and she loved them all as her own.

Don and Celia, along with the grandchildren, wish to give a special thanks to our sister, Jeanie and her husband Bill, for the dedicated service to mother during the last few months.

Our family always thrived on love and laughter, and we are sorry for taunting Jeanie as being the favorite. She deserved it. Her service to mother was exceptional.

The family requests that memorials be made to a favorite charity, for many were the recipients of the family's generosity. Donations to Hospice of San Angelo and the Women of ACU Scholarship fund would be appreciated.


Submitted by Beverly Dunn Howard on July 21, 2004.

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