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John C. McDonald (1924-2005)




John C. McDonald was born in Lorimor, Iowa, on February 19, 1924, and died in Dallas Center, Iowa on December 2, 2005.  He attended Simpson College and Southern Illinois University. He joined the U.S. Army Air Force in 1943 and served as a pilot in the Pacific Theatre through the end of World War II.

After discharge from the service in 1946, John attended Law School at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and received his L.L.B in 1948 (and his J.D. in 1968). He practiced law in Dallas Center beginning in 1948, until he was recalled to service in the Korean War in 1950. He served as a Judge Advocate and pilot at the Strategic Air Command headquarters during the Korean War. He was a Colonel in the United States Air Force Reserve.

In 1951 John returned to Dallas Center and formed the Hall and McDonald law firm with Guy H. Hall. He became the senior partner in the McDonald, Brown & Fagen law firm.

John was the Dallas Center City Attorney from 1956 to 1984, and the Dallas County Attorney from 1958 to 1962. He was the attorney for the Dallas Community School District from 1953 to 1968, and served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Dallas Community School District (now Dallas Center-Grimes) from 1968 to 1976; and he served four years as Board President. He was a member of the Dallas County Hospital Board of Trustees (1973-1975).

From 1971 until his death, John was a member of the Simpson College Alumni Council (President, 1977-1980); and in 1978 he became a member of the Simpson College Board of Trustees. He was a past member of the National Advisory Committee of Central College. John was awarded the Simpson College Achievement Award in 1974, and the Drake University Distinguished Alumni Award in 1978.

President Gerald Ford appointed John to the Board of Visitors of the United States Air Force Academy, a post he held from 1975-1978 (Board Chairman, 1977-1978). Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush appointed him as a member of the American Battle Monuments Commission (1982-1994).

John was appointed by Governors Robert D. Ray and Terry E. Branstad to the Iowa Board of Regents, he was confirmed by the Iowa Senate, and served from 1981 to 1987 (Board President, 1985-1987). He was a member of the Board of Directors of Iowa Public Television (1981-1985); appointed by Governor Branstad to the Governor's Blue Ribbon Task Force on Campaign Finance Disclosure Law in 1989; and appointed by Governor Branstad to the Iowa Student Loan Liquidity Corporation (1987-2001).

John was the Dallas County Republican Chairman (1963-1968); a member of the Republican State Central Committee of Iowa (1968-1969); and Chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa (1969-1975). He was the Chairman of the Republican State Chairman's Advisory Committee from 1973 to 1975.

He was a member of the Republican National Committee from 1969 to 1988; and was Midwest Vice Chairman of the Committee (1982-1984). He was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1964, 1972, 1976, 1980, 1984, and 1988 (and Iowa Delegation Vice Chair in 1972 and 1988). He chaired the Committee on Contests for the 1976, 1980, 1984, and 1988 conventions, and chaired the Convention's Committee on Credentials in 1976, 1980, and 1988.

John was admitted to the Iowa Bar in 1948. John was admitted to practice before the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa in 1949; to the United State Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces in 1956; and to the United States Supreme Court in 1956.

John and his wife, Barbara, were married in 1943. They have three daughters, Mary Richard, Joan Ackerman, and Jean McDonald. He was a member of the Presbyterian Church for more than fifty years, and was an elder.

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