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Philip ‘Flip’ McDonald, 78

Philip “Flip” John McDonald, age 78, of Hollywood Township, passed away Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012, with his family by his side.

He was born Sept. 26, 1933, to Kenneth and Margaret (Burns) McDonald, the 10th child in the family of 11. As a baby, he was frail and unable to digest food, which resulted in a lengthy stay at the University of Minnesota hospital. His strong spirit helped him to gain strength and return to the family in Hollywood Township.

Flip attended School at Holy Trinity in Winsted, where he made many friends. He has always attended the class reunions.

He served in the Navy for four years, and then returned to farm with his brother, Joe on the “Old McDonald’s Farm” in Hollywood.

After selling the dairy cows, Flip drove school bus, worked for Green Giant in Winsted, and was the maintenance man and grounds keeper for Immaculate Conception Church in Watertown. He also mowed the cemetery for his “quiet friends.”

Flip married Abbie Siefert June 20, 1964, at St. Patrick’s Parish in Collis, MN. They had six children, Patrick, William, Brian, Theresa, Tim, and Colleen. Brian was born Jan. 3, 1968, and died Jan. 16, 1968, in a fire that destroyed the family’s home.

Enjoying all sports, Flip boxed in the Golden Gloves, bowled, played horseshoes, many ball games, and as a parent, never missed his children’s football, wrestling, baseball, track, gymnastics, or volleyball games.

Flip celebrated life and enjoyed people. He was a great dancer who attended many wedding dances at the Blue Note in Winsted.

He enjoyed playing cards, being a part of his church choir, and loved music and theater. He enjoyed, and seldom missed high school plays in Watertown, and also liked to go to Chanhassen Dinner Theater.

Flip’s Irish heritage was always very obvious to all who knew him. St Patrick’s Day was a huge day to celebrate with family and friends. Several trips to Ireland resulted in expanding his base of friends.

Flip’s two greatest joys were his Catholic faith and his family, especially the grandchildren.

He was generous with both friends and family. For many years he did a weekly pickup of bread, donated by Machenthuns, and then Coborn’s, for the Friends for Life food shelf in Watertown. He gave freely of his time as a community and church volunteer.

Flip recently attended a recognition banquet where he, along with Bill, was given the conservationist award of the year for Carver County.

In addition to his infant son, Brian Ewan McDonald, Flip was preceded in death by his parents, Kenneth and Margaret McDonald; sister Dorothy Vidlund; and brothers Patrick “Patsy” McDonald, Ewan McDonald and Ed Joe McDonald.

He is survived by his wife, Abigail (Siefert) McDonald; children Patrick (Terri) McDonald, Bill (Lis) McDonald, Theresa (Bill) Sullivan, Tim McDonald, and Colleen (Aaron) Score; and grandchildren Vincent McDonald, Brian, Jamie and Nicole McDonald, and Sean, Colin and Liam Sullivan.

Flip is further survived by his siblings, sisters Margaret (Earl) Borer, Sister Rita McDonald, Sister Kate McDonald, Sister Brigid McDonald, and Sister Jane McDonald; a brother, K.J. (Barbara) McDonald; a brother-in-law, Elroy Vidlund; as well as many cousins nieces, nephews and friends.

Mass of Christian Burial took place Monday, Jan. 9 at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Watertown with the Revs. Joseph Fink and Frank Wampach celebrating the Mass. Interment followed in the church cemetery, with military honors provided by the Watertown American Legion Eugene Earley Post 121.

Visitation was Sunday, Jan. 8 from 3:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Immaculate Conception Church in Watertown, with a rosary prayer service at 8:30 p.m.; and continued Monday for one hour prior to the Mass in the church.

Arrangements were handled by the Iten’s Watertown Funeral Home.