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Joseph McDonald

Thu, 06/22/2023 - 09:58

Aug. 26, 1959 - June 16, 2023

Joseph A. McDonald, a Montauk native and department manager at Stop and Shop in East Hampton for many years, died on Friday at NYU Langone Health’s Kimmel Pavilion in Manhattan. Mr. McDonald, who had been diagnosed with cancer just a few months ago, was 63.

He was “the funniest man on the planet,” his family wrote. “Joe loved his family and friends. If you knew Joe, you knew you were loved. There was nothing he wouldn’t do for anyone. He always made people around him happy. Always the life of the party.”

Mr. McDonald was born at Southampton Hospital on Aug. 26, 1959, to John Alvin McDonald and the former Marie Edith Landry. He grew up on Essex Street in Montauk and graduated from East Hampton High School. He was a Montauk resident until his marriage to the former Ellen Hegarty on Sept. 23, 1995. The couple, who raised two children, lived on Seabright Avenue in Springs. Mrs. McDonald survives.

“Joe loved fishing,” his family wrote. “His perfect day was out on the water. If he caught fish, all the better, if not, it was still an excellent day.” His wife and children share his love for fishing, and the family took fishing trips on his boat almost every day of the spring, summer, and fall.

He and his wife bought a Downeast boat a few seasons ago. Last summer, he fished for giant tuna for the first time and was part of a team that caught an 800-pound bluefin. He had hoped to retire next year and become a charter captain, his family wrote. The McDonalds frequented Carnival Cruise Line cruises, too, taking more than 25 of them over the last 30 years.

Ten years ago, Mr. McDonald needed a kidney transplant. Though five people immediately offered to donate one, it was his wife who became the donor. The couple liked to say, “We always knew we were a perfect match, now science has proven it.”

When asked how he was doing, his reply was always “Excellent, honestly never better, always nice to be asked,” his family wrote. Even through his illness, the answer was the same.

In addition to his wife, Mr. McDonald is survived by a son, Joseph McDonald of Montauk, and a daughter, Mary McDonald of Springs. A brother, John McDonald of Montauk, also survives, as do two sisters, Janet Prado of Fall River, Mass., and Elaine Leibowitz of Sun City Center, Fla. He leaves 14 nieces and nephews.

A funeral Mass will be offered today at 4 p.m. at St. Therese of Lisieux Catholic Church in Montauk, the Rev. Liam McDonald officiating. A burial at sea will immediately follow. Those planning to attend have been asked to meet at the Viking Dock in Montauk. Boat owners have been invited to meet the group on the water. A celebration of Mr. McDonald’s life will follow at Salivar’s Dock in Montauk at around 7 p.m.

His family has suggested memorial contributions to the Montauk Fire Department, 12 Flamingo Road, Montauk 11954, with “In honor of the McDonald family” on the check’s memo line, or the Recanati/Miller Transplantation Institute at Mount Sinai, where Mr. McDonald received his kidney transplant, at


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