Mildred Bauer McDonald, 103, died on Sept. 14, 2016. Born in Chicago and a longtime resident of Oak Park, she was a fixture in the community. A devoted member of Ascension Parish, she volunteered as a teacher's aide at the school for many years.
Her kindness, generosity and love reached far past her biological kin. She was devoted to traditions that spanned decades, which survive today due to her. She believed travel expanded the mind, reached six continents herself, and helped many more see the world. She bestowed her grace and warmth upon everyone she met, and made each and every visitor feel loved. A beautiful, poetic, and unbelievably strong woman, she has left many behind and made an indelible mark on every single person she touched. She will always be remembered.
On Feb. 8, 2013, the students of Ascension School — all 400 of them — walked a block east to Mildred's house, which the family moved into in 1950, to serenade her for her 100th birthday. As it happens, 2013 was also Ascension School's 100th birthday.
The students gave her hugs and pink flowers for the occasion.
Mildred worked as a teaching assistant in the classrooms for many years as her grandchildren moved through the school.
"She is a shareholder in our work to bring children up in the faith, to welcome them into the parish community, to form them as good citizens and to teach them to do good," said Ascension Principal Mary Jo Burns in 2013.
Very few live to see 103; even fewer earn their wings so early in life. She was a blessing to this earth.
Mildred was the wife of the late Leo Joseph McDonald; the mother of Susan (the late Richard) Vanek, Sara Barry, Phyllis (Warren "Bill") Emery, Jeanne (Tom) Deacy, and John (MaryAnne) McDonald; the grandmother of Charles (Jenifer), Victor, Laura (Brooks), Adam (Bonnie), Amanda (Matthew), Maureen, Kathleen, Michael, Kelley (Andrew), Timothy (Jessica), Brian (Bridget), and Colleen (Steven); the great-grandmother of 19; and the aunt and great-aunt of many.
Visitation was held Monday, Sept. 19 from 3 to 8 p.m. at Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home. A funeral Mass was celebrated at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 20 at Ascension Church, followed by interment at Queen of Heaven Cemetery.
In memory of Mildred McDonald, donations to the Ascension School Scholarship Fund are most welcome.
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