Duncan James MacDonald Jr.

PORTLAND – Duncan James MacDonald Jr., 84, of Portland, and formerly Boston, passed away peacefully at St. Joseph’s Rehabilitation and Residence after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. Duncan was born in Portland on Dec. 14, 1937, to Julia Margaret (Benner) MacDonald and Duncan James MacDonald, Sr. Duncan was a lifelong student beginning at the Perry School on Florida Avenue. He attended Lincoln Junior High School and was a 1955 graduate of Deering High School. He graduated from the University of Maine (Orono) in 1959 with a degree in Engineering Physics. While at UMaine he was a member of Sigma Nu fraternity and the Tau Beta Phi and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies. After graduation, he attended Purdue University to take advanced engineering classes which prepared him to work on the up-and-coming NASA space program. Duncan settled in his beloved Boston where he resided on Beacon Hill until 2018 when he moved back to Portland to be closer to family. Duncan worked for the engineering firms Avco and Textron where he was instrumental in developing heat shields for the Apollo spacecraft and MX missile programs. He was very proud of his contributions to the space program, ensuring that the astronauts returned safely from space. In retirement, he enjoyed volunteering and was recognized as a 30-year volunteer at Massachusetts General Hospital where he devoted over 5,000 hours. He volunteered several hundred hours at the Boston Athenaeum, where he was a long-time member, and also tutored Boston high school students in math and science for many years. Music, faith, sports, friends, and family were all very important to Duncan. He was a lifelong member of the Chestnut Street United Methodist Church in Portland; in Boston, he attended the Old South Church and later, the Church on the Hill. Duncan loved music and in his youth was a member of the Deering High School Marching Band. As an adult, Duncan played in both flute and recorder with ensembles in Boston and was a season ticket holder of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. It goes without saying that he loved the Boston Red Sox, Bruins, and Celtics and often attended their games.Duncan often traveled to his father’s native Nova Scotia and connected with his Scottish roots. He learned the game of golf and was a caddy during his high school years at the Riverside Golf Course. As an adult, he was well traveled and took many trips to London and Scotland where he enjoyed researching his family genealogy, attending lectures, and playing St. Andrew’s Links. He was a longterm member of the National Trust for Scotland, the New England Historic Genealogical Society, and the Maine Historical Society. Duncan is survived by his sister Gladys Jean (MacDonald) Desrochers and her husband Paul Desrochers of Scarborough; two nieces and their families, Paula Desrochers-Yakout and her husband Osama Yakout of Yorktown Heights, N.Y., and Donna Desrochers and her husband Jeffrey Walker of Vienna, Va. Duncan was always generous with his nieces and later, his five great-nieces and nephews, Ethan and Lindsay Walker, and Sarah, Adam and Zackariya Yakout. He is also survived by many cousins throughout North America and will certainly be missed.Family and friends are invited to attend a time of visitation on Friday, Jan. 21, 2022, from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m., at Jones, Rich & Barnes Funeral Home, 199 Woodford St. Portland. Vaccinated guests only and masks are required. A funeral service will take place at the funeral home at 12 p.m. After the service visiting hours will continue until 1:30, when a procession will be formed to go to Evergreen Cemetery for the committal service. The funeral will be live streamed at https://www.facebook.com/jonesrichbarnes.Please visit http://www.jonesrichandbarnes.com to view Duncan’s tribute page and to sign his online guestbook. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Duncan’s name to the University of Maine College of Engineering, Church on the Hill (Boston), Boston Athenaeum orParkinson’s Foundation.

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