Maudell Holt McDonald was born on December 9, 1921, in Mason County, and passed away June 28, 2009. She was the daughter of Jesse McAllen Holt and Kizzie Ferguson Holt. She was raised in the Wagram Community and graduated from Pontotoc High School. She married James Allen (Al) McDonald on February 8, 1941. Her husband and companion of fifty years preceded her in death in 1991.
Her children and grandchildren lovingly remember Maudell as being a caring and compassionate homemaker. As many women of her generation, Maudell was a skilled seamstress. Aside from basic mending and sewing, Maudell helped her children and grandchildren with many and sometimes unusual projects. She made two banners that were used as the skirting on a trailer for a parade float. She put finishing touches on twirling costumes, made cheerleading, tennis and track uniforms, as well as a complete elf suit. One Christmas, she made matching flannel nightshirts for each of the adult males and boys in the family. Prior to the present Puncher spirit flags, Maudell and a group of ladies in the Puncher Club sewed the original flags that were donated to businesses.
While accomplishing those tasks, Maudell was also a career woman. In the early years of marriage, she worked at several local cafes. However, for most of her life as a working wife and mom, she was an employee of Mason County News. This career lasted about forty years, and Maudell was every owner and editor’s right hand. She wrote wedding stories, obituaries, classified ads, and spent countless hours attending school board meetings in order to provide full news reports. She did it all with pencil and paper – no typewriter or computer for Maudell. She covered all school events and was recognized two times by the Texas Association of School Boards for her journalism reporting of school events.
Alongside her husband, Maudell was an avid supporter of school activities, Before having their own children, they followed the Punchers and Cowgirls and were reporters of their events to the Abilene Reporter News, San Angelo Standard Times and San Antonio Express News. Their dedication spanned throughout their marriage, and in 1983, Mason ISD named Al the “Number One Puncher and Cowgirl Fan” and recognized Maudell for the integral role she played as the “woman beside the man”. They established the “McDonald Family Academic Athlete Award”, which continues as an annual award given to the highest-ranking male and female student athletes. Maudell remained true to the commitment that she and Al shared in encouraging young athletes. In 2007, the little league and high school baseball complex was officially named the “McDonald Sports Complex” to honor Al and Maudell McDonald.
Maudell was a member of the Ladies Auxiliaries of the VFW and American Legion. As a member of First Baptist Church, Maudell frequently led adult Sunday school classes. She was devout in her faith – never questioning circumstances, and as a quiet lady, offered her hand of compassion to many others in need. She often reminded her children that what matters most is how we live – always try to understand the way other people feel, show appreciation for what you have, treat others with respect, be kind, and love the people in your lives. Maudell did not just say these words to her children, she lived by them – always putting others first. Her children never heard her say, “I wish I had” or “I want”. She lived for the Lord and trusted Him to take of her and her family.
In addition to being preceded in death by her husband, Maudell was preceded in death by her daughter, Gwen Gardner, and two sisters, Lorene Tyler and Pearl Murrah. She is survived by daughter, Mary Lou Smith and husband Jimmy of Fredericksburg, daughter Dorothy Grote and husband Jeff of Mason, son Bobby Doak McDonald and wife Karen of Big Lake, and daughter Deborah June Brushe of Abilene. Maudell leaves ten grandchildren: Greg Gardner and wife Tammy, Kimber Smith Wunderlich and husband Larry, Shandre Smith Rivas and husband Mike, Chad Smith and wife Sheley, Courtney Grote Garrett and husband Matt, Koy Grote and wife Sarah, Joshua McDonald and wife Brandi, Kaci McDonald Rybolt and husband Jason, Amy McDonald, and Cody Moore. She also leaves thirteen great-grandchildren, four step-grandchildren, and three step-great-great grandchildren. Her surviving siblings are Jessie Nobles, Ila Belle Brown, Iva Nell Sparks and husband Holden, and Arthur Dee (Sonny) Holt and wife Nancy. Many nieces and nephews, and several cousins also survive her.
Pallbearers were grandsons and grandsons-in-law.