Dr. Thomas Joseph Peter McDonald

Macken Funeral Home Memorial Photo
Date of Birth:
Thursday, May 30, 1940
Date of Death:
Tuesday, September 10, 2019
79 years old


Date: Monday September 16, 2019
Time: 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Location: Co-Cathedral of St. John The Evangelist [ view map ]

Second Visitation

Date: Tuesday September 17, 2019
Time: 9:30 am - 10:30 am

Location: Co-Cathedral of St. John The Evangelist [ view map ]

Funeral Service

Date: Tuesday September 17, 2019
Time: 10:30 am

Location: Co-Cathedral of St. John The Evangelist [ view map ]


Location: St. Bridget's Cemetery [ view map ]

Macken Funeral Home Memorial Photo
Date of Birth:
Thursday, May 30, 1940
Date of Death:
Tuesday, September 10, 2019
79 years old
Macken Funeral Home Memorial Photo
Date of Birth:
Thursday, May 30, 1940
Date of Death:
Tuesday, September 10, 2019
79 years old

Dr. Thomas Joseph Peter McDonald

Dr. McDonald, 79, of Rochester, Minnesota, died Tuesday, September 10, 2019 at his home surrounded by his beloved wife and family.  Dr. McDonald was born on May 30, 1940 in Ballynahinch, County Down, Northern Ireland, to Dr. Frank and Irene McDonald.

Dr. McDonald graduated from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in 1963, after which he completed a year long internship in Dublin before emigrating to the United States for an internship at St. Mary’s Hospital in Saginaw, Michigan. There he met Mary Brown, a nursing student at St. Mary’s, and married her on May 14, 1966.  Dr. McDonald served in the United States Army Medical Corps from 1965 to 1968 where he attained the rank of Captain.  He was deployed as a combat surgeon at the 12th Evac Hospital in Cu Chi, Vietnam during the Vietnam War from 1966-1967 and he was decorated for bravery.  After completing his military service, he began his residency at the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, in 1968, which he completed in 1972.  He joined the staff of Mayo Clinic as a consultant in the Department of Otorhinolaryngology— Head and Neck Surgery on April 1, 1972.  He became Professor at Mayo Medical School in 1988.  He was appointed Chair of the Department of Otorhinolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery in 1990 and served in that position until September 2003.  In 1990, he was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.  He served as Vice Chairman of Mayo Clinic’s Board of Governors and he was a member of its Board of Trustees. During his career, he amassed an impressive bibliography approaching 400 publications.  Throughout his career and even after retirement, Dr. McDonald was instrumental in training hundreds of surgical residents and he had a tremendous, positive influence over the lives and careers of countless physicians from around the world.  He was the recipient of numerous awards, both nationally and internationally.  Dr. McDonald retired on January 2, 2007 after serving 39 years at Mayo Clinic.

His passion for medicine was equaled, if not eclipsed, by his love for his wife and five boys. He was a voracious reader and an enthusiastic student of the theater and classical music.  He enjoyed jogging with friends as well as playing racquetball and tennis.  He was a Minnesota Vikings fan and he enjoyed a lifelong love affair with rugby which he played for many years in Ireland.

Survivors include:  his wife, Mary, Rochester, MN; his four sons, Tom Jr. (Karmin), Minneapolis, MN, Drew (Aimee), Salinas, CA, Ryan (Rita), Melbourne, Australia, and Darren (Laura), Minneapolis, MN; his seven grandchildren, Meaghan, Aidan, Desmond, Courtney, Norah, Paige and Gavin. He is preceded in death by his son, Robbie; his parents, Frank and Irene; his brothers, John and Donald, and his sister, Una.


A Mass in celebration of his remarkable life will be held at the Co-Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Rochester, MN on Tuesday, September 17, 2019 at 10:30 AM officiated by Rev. Msgr Gerald A. Mahon. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the Mass at the church. The Wake for Dr. McDonald will also take place at the church from 4-7 PM on Monday, September 16, 2019.  Burial with full military honors will be held at the St. Bridget’s Catholic Cemetery in Simpson, Minnesota.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial gifts to the Robb McDonald Shakespearean Scholarship (go to lourdesfoundation.org or mail a check to Lourdes Foundation, 2800 19th St NW, Rochester, MN 55901).


The family of Dr. Thomas Joseph Peter McDonald has received the following condolences.

Mary and family, I am sorry for your loss. I had the honor of working with Tom for many years at Mayo Clinic. He was a classic “three shield” Mayo Clinic doctor, excelling in practice, education and research. In addition, he was an excellent, wise and gracious leader. He asked probing and challenging questions and yet always left his colleagues feeling respected and valued. I am grateful to have had the chance to learn and grow with this fine man. 



Mary and family, I am sorry for your loss. I had the honor of working with Tom for many years at Mayo Clinic. He was a classic “three shield” Mayo Clinic doctor, excelling in practice, education and research. In addition, he was an excellent, wise and gracious leader. He asked probing and challenging questions and yet always left his colleagues feeling respected and valued. I am grateful to have had the chance to learn and grow with this fine man. 



We just wanted to say how very sorry we were to learn of Dr. McDonald's passing. I remember him, Mrs. McDonald, & the boys well from my time growing up in Rochester. I know he will be missed terribly. All our love to the McDonald family.


-Susan (Pearson) Olivas and Daniel Olivas


Dear Mary,

How sad we are to learn of Tom’s death.

We have such good memories of you Tom and the boys over the years.

We remember your kindness when we first arrived in Rochester,

Tom was so welcoming to Bruce and all of us.

We will miss him.

Our sincere sympathy to you and the family.

Irene and Bruce 

Dear Ryan and family,

My deepest sympathies for the loss of Dr Thomas McDonald, sending you comfort and prayers at this time of loss.


Teresa Davis

Prayerful sympathies on th death of your grand husband and father, now, as ever, in the hands of the Divine Physician.

Blessings.  Fr EFM

We honor Dr. Thomas Joseph Peter McDonald, the father of Drew McDonald our good friend.  May God continue to bless and comfort all those who loved Dr. McDonald and give them the peace of Christ's love.  May all his children and grandchildren (especially our good friends Courtney, Norah, Paige)  feel the love of their grandfather as they carry on his legacy to make a difference in our world.   


Karen, J., Luke, and Kylie McKenzie

East Garrison, CA

Drew and Family-

My heartfelt condolences for your entire family. So many wonderful words and memories have been shared by those who his life had touched. He was clearly an inspiration and a mentor his entire life.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you.


Served with Tom at 12th Evac. Many kind words were spoken of Tom at recent reunion. Missed him there. One fine fellow who held up his corner of the 12th

Dear Mrs. McDonald and family,

I offer my sincerest condolences as you go through this very difficult time.  The many incredible memories of him will help ease your pain and loss, as he led a such an enriched and wondrous life!! I worked in ENT for just over 10 years, he was the Dept Chair during that time.  I'll never forget his open-door policy and how he made each employee feel that their voice was heard and mattered.  I appreciated this so much.  He was the consummate Mayo doctor and professional.  His wife and children were his #1 priority and beamed when he spoke of them.  May God's peace be among you all.

Fondly, Pam Q.    

Tom Jr, May you and your family have strength today. I know your dad was a legend.  His legacy will no doubt live on brightly. Best wishes to your mom and brothers Thinking of you out here in Southern California this morning. 

Thinking of you all today.  What an amazing life Tom led. We will remember Tom often and fondly.

So honoured to know you all.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

The Dillon family.


So sorry to hear of Tom’s passing. It was my pleasure to have worked with him, and wonderful to also see him outside of work. He was a truly kind and compassionate man.

Your family will be in our thoughts and prayers.

Karina and Garvan

Knew Dr McDonald from the 12 the Evac in Vietnam.  A great person and doctor. May he Rest in Peace.. prayers for the family   

With love and respect

Thank you for your service

Marge peck Voght


Dear Family of Dr. McDonald,

Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to you during this difficult time as you grieve the loss of such a loved and amazing husband, father, grandfather, and friend.  We pray that God will comfort and sustain you with wonderful memories of the times you shared with him and the hope you have in seeing him again someday.

We wish you all of the best.  May God richly bless you and your family.

Love, Lori & Dave Allen

Dear Mary and family,

Mike and I would like you to know that we are thinking of you all at this sad time. 

Deanna and Mike Sheehan

Dear Auntie Mary,

We want you all to know how sad we were to hear about Uncle Tom’s death. He was a fantastic person, always cheerful and kind. You’ll miss him terribly we know. We’re thinking of you all and praying for you at this time. Your sons and their wives will gather around you now but he will always be missed by you especially  and all of us in his extended family. 

Love Siobhán, Séamus, Niamh and Conor O’Leary

Dear Mrs McDonald, Ryan and family,

My thoughts are with you all at this very sad time and I offer you my sincere condolences.  Ryan has shared with me what a wonderful man and father, Dr Thomas McDonald was and how far reaching his impact on our world has been.

Yours sincerely, from Australia,


Dr. McDonald was a wonderful doctor and so supportive when I was teaching his boys. Both Dr. Tom and his wife, Mary raised their boys to be respectful men. 

I know he will be missed by family and friends. Sincerely, Dianne Elavsky 

Dear Ryan McDonald and Family, 

I am truly sorry for your loss. I would like to offer you and your family my deepest and most sincere condolences. May the soul of your father rest in peace. 

God bless. 

Lloyd Davis & Family 

Dear McDonald Family,

I’m so very sorry for the loss of your husband, father and grandfather.  I worked with Dr McDonald in a number of administrative roles at Mayo.  In addition he was the surgeon for one of my children’s ENT needs. He as a great physician, leader and best of all a wonderful colleague who valued all opinions and perspectives.  His impact was significant in so many ways.  He will be long remembered for his contributions.

I will truly miss my wonderful friend and Mayo ENT Department colleague Dr. Thomas McDonald. My sincere condolences to his wonderful family. I offer the following, author unknown.                

                      Don't think of him as gone away           Just think of him as resting              Think how he must be wishing            And think of him as living

                            His journey's just begun               From the sorrows and the tears             That we could know today         In the hearts of those he touched

                         Life holds so many facets               In a place of warmth and comfort          How nothing but our sadness          For nothing loved is ever lost

                            This Earth is only one                Where there are no days or years                 Can really pass away                  And he was loved so much







Dr. Tom McDonald transitioned from my chairman to my mentor to my boss to my colleague to my patient, and somewhere along that line, my friend.  He will forever be my image and model of an unrelenting supporter of those under his tutelage and leadership.  He lifted so many up, and asked for nothing in return- a true leader.  I will miss him dearly.

Tom was a great physician, a greater friend, and one of the most welcoming warmest persons I have ever met. One could not help but feel a closeness to him that was both extraordinary and remarkable. Perhaps that was so because one knew that Tom would do anything he could to help another person regardless of the extent of ones relationship with him. 

Tom’s family, each and every one of them, meant much to him and he often spoke of them with bursting  pride. They must each know that but it bears repeating at this time of sorrow  

All members of his family are no doubt in deep sadness. Yet, each should and certainly must have a quiet pride in the role they played in contributing to the immense humanity that was the essence of Tom McDonald. 

Frank Berman and family 

I had the pleasure of working with Dr. McDonald during my tenure at Mayo ENT Department. He was a great guy to be around, to  learn from and his sense of humor was fun. He was always willing to take care of his patients and even performed surgery on my Dad for his ear issue. He will be great missed.  My condolences to his family  

Mary, I am so sorry for your loss.  Thank God for wonderful memories.  You and Tom were such good friends at such an important and low time in our lives. Thank you.  I didn’t realize Bob and Tom were so close in age.  Bob passed away Sept 5, 2013.

Pat and I were sorry to read about Tom's death. We recall our visits wth you, Mary, when Tom was rehabbing at Modona Health Care. Our condolences to you and your family.(I have fond memories of them at Lourdes). We are currently spending time in Northern Ireland and ironically drove with Pat's relatives to Ballynahinch. As we drove past the Catholic Church we thought that it must be where Tom attended. Know that you are in our thoughts and prayers .


Jerry and Pat

Dear Mary, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your sons at this sad time. As well as being a much loved husband, father and grandfather, Tom was a wonderful uncle to his Irish nieces and nephews, a fount of wisdom and good advice and above all great fun. He was also a beloved brother to the late John, Donald and Una who always saw the mischievous little boy behind the eminent and learned doctor. We will all remember him with great affection. May he rest in peace in his heavenly home. Nuala McLoughlin and family. 

Mary, Joni and I send our condolences. Tom was always complementary, and so easy to talk to. My best memories are seeing you and Tom at the tennis courts watching Robbie. That will always be special seeming Robbie succeed and be our number one player. Also being with you at Mass, and being able to give the Eucharist. 

We are so sorry about not being with you Tuesday, because we are going to Wyoming on Sunday. You are both in our prayers, especially that God gives you the strength during this time.

 Lorne and Joni Grosso

Dear Mary and Family'

I was so saddened by the news of Tom's death. He was a great friend and colleague. Professionally we had many serious moments together,

yet a lot of good humor along the way.

Ingrid and I send our love, respect, and condolences to you all. Bryan and Ingrid Neel

 I am so very saddened to hear of the passing of such a wonderful man.  My deepest sympathies to Mary and the boys whom were very dear to me and thought of often.   I will never forget the days I babysat for those 5 little McDonald boys!   May Tom rest in peace and may you all find comfort in remembering what a wonderful human being Tom was to all.  

Dr. McDonald was an eminent physician, but others can extol his professional virtues more knowledgeably than I can. What I can attest to was how generous, loyal and kind he was. He went so far out of his way to help my family that I still cannot quite believe it, and the memory does not dim though it was a decade ago. God does not make better men than this, and a person is lucky indeed to encounter a few in a lifetime.  I am sure many, many people had this experience of Dr. McDonald. He will be sorely missed, but he will be remembered with gratitude. And with a smile. No one made me more proud to be Irish.

Tom was a wonderful colleague and friend during our time at Mayo Clinic and a fellow parishioner at St. John's. We fondly remember teaching Sunday school with Mary and watching several Super Bowls at his house. His humor and his professional support were unwavering, despite many hardships. He will be missed. 

With fond memories, Thomas and Julia Behrenbeck

I am sending my heartfelt condolences to the McDonald family.  I am a long-time friend of Tom McDonald Jr.  I always will remember the wonderful family stories he would tell me about his dad over the years.  He sounded like a remarkable man and father.  I hope that your wonderful memories of him give all of you solace during these difficult times.

TMac and family- 

While I never had the honor of meeting Dr. McDonald I felt I knew him a bit because of TMac’s stories about his Pops who he clearly adored.  What a courageous, gifted, and wonderful man he must have been. 

My deepest sympathies and condolences during this most difficult loss.