Joseph James McDonald Jr. of State College, Pennsylvania, and formerly Millheim, Pennsylvania, passed away peacefully Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, at his home surrounded by his family. He was 73.
Born Nov. 27, 1947, in Pittsburgh, the son of the late Joseph and Margaret (Spence) McDonald, Joe was raised in Washington D.C., where he attended Oyster, Gordon, and Deal elementary and middle schools, Woodrow Wilson High School, and the Landon School, from which he graduated in 1966. A decorated athlete and all-league selection, Joe honed his skills at Washington’s Jelleff Boys Club. He attended The Pennsylvania State University on an athletic scholarship, before a knee injury prematurely ended his basketball career, and was a brother of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity. He graduated in 1970.
It was at Penn State where Joe met his best friend and devoted wife of more than 50 years, Patti (Mingle), who survives at home. After marrying in 1970, the couple settled in Penns Valley, first in Aaronsburg and later in Millheim, where they lovingly raised three children—Dana, Jennifer, and Matthew—and gave care to numerous pets. They took great pride in supporting the many activities of their children, including traveling innumerable miles to sporting events and practices. Joe was a longtime insurance and real estate agent, owning his own business and working with countless families throughout Penns Valley and the Centre Region.
A dedicated community citizen, Joe was a member of numerous local organizations, including the State College Elks, and volunteered on several community boards, including the Penns Valley Park and Recreation Association, of which he was a former president, and the Centre Community Hospital board of directors. He also was a longtime junior high boys’ basketball coach in Penns Valley, teaching and mentoring a generation of youth throughout the valley.
After residing briefly in Durham, North Carolina, Joe and Patti returned to Centre County, settling in State College. Joe was an avid sports fan and particularly enjoyed watching the Penn State Nittany Lions, the Pittsburgh Pirates, and Washington’s NFL team. In retirement, he most appreciated spending time with his family, staying connected to longtime friends, golfing, and taking annual summer trips to the North Carolina coast.
In addition to his wife, Patti, Joe is survived by his three children, Dana and her wife, Susan Alden, of Hillsborough, North Carolina, Jennifer and her husband, Matthew Boal, of Leavenworth, Kansas, and Matthew of Miami, Florida; three grandchildren: Zachary, Alise, and Morgan Boal of Leavenworth, Kansas; a sister-in-law, Jerri Zerby, and her husband, Rob, of Millheim; many cousins, nieces, and nephews; and a loyal cat, Rascal Jack. He was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph, legislative representative for the United Steelworkers of America, and Margaret; sisters, Dorothy Chen and her husband, William, and Marjory Rugh and her husband, Kenneth; and parents-in-law, Jensen and Dorothy (Gharret) Mingle.
All services will be private and under the care of Steven R. Neff Funeral Home in Millheim. A celebration of life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions in Joe’s honor be made to the Mount Nittany Health Foundation Cancer Care Fund (https://foundation.mountnittany.org/give; Mount Nittany Health Foundation, 1800 Park Avenue, State College, PA 16803; 814-231-7117) or the State College Elks Home Health Service (P.O. Box 8, Boalsburg, PA 16827).
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Mount Nittany Health Foundation
1800 Park Avenue, State College PA 16803
Mount Nittany Health Foundation Cancer Care Fund
State College Elks Home Health Service
PO Box 8, Boalsburg PA 16827