Maybelle Clark Macdonald was described by her friends as a deeply caring, compassionate woman of great faith. She was born in the Samaritan Hospital in Portland, Oregon on March 27, 1916, and passed away peacefully on December 10, 2009.
A loving mother with 11 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren, Middy, as she was known to her friends, grew up in the midst of the abundant success of her entrepreneurial and philanthropic family. Her grandfather, Orange M. Clark, moved to Oregon from Michigan in 1902. He and his son, Maybelle’s father, Wilson Clark, owned and operated the Clark & Wilson Lumber Company in Linnton, Oregon when Middy was born.
The family moved to Northwest Portland in 1925 and lived at a residence located at the intersection of Lovejoy and Cornell Road. Middy attended Ainsworth Elementary (where she would often take a 1.7 mile walk up a steep hill to the school) and Catlin Gabel High School. She went on to Mills College and later graduated from Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute in Paris. She has been described as a woman with a great sense of style and an eye for color and design who "can wear hats anywhere from Paris to Gearhart and get away with it." Sophisticated with a keen eye for the fine and performing arts, Maybelle was very active in the cultural community but her most outstanding attribute was her deep compassion and caring for others.
Maybelle's philanthropy began at age 9 when her father would take her to meet and assist the families living in Oregon’s logging camps. Their father took pains “to teach Middy the value of money and how to spend it”. It is obvious today that the lesson stuck, for Middy has been opening her own purse ever since – and not frivolously, but with wisdom and compassion – and certainly with an eye on value.
Maybelle founded Meals on Heels which became Loaves & Fishes’ Meals on Wheels program. She was a founder and member of the Albertina Kerr Guild as well as being the founder of the Maybelle Clark Macdonald Center and Residence. With a special interest in helping women and children in crisis, Maybelle always gave freely of her time and passion and leadership, not just her financial support. In 1970, Maybelle, inspired by the leadership of others, created the Maybelle Clark Macdonald Fund with the mission "to relieve the misfortune and promote the well being of mankind." Now among Oregon’s largest foundations, the Fund will continue to support the good works of Oregonians into perpetuity in Maybelle's honor.
This deeply caring, compassionate, kind and gentle woman of great faith supported and attended to the needs of the poor, homeless and disenfranchised with grace, humility, passion and, of course, her wonderfully endearing style. She is deeply missed.