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June 1913 - In Memoriam, John Henry McDonald

Monthly Magazine for the Parishes of S James, Badsey, with Aldington & S John Baptist, Wickhamford
Transcription of article


After a long and trying illness, patiently borne, Mr. McDonald passed away early in the morning on May 8th. He was happily spared all violent pain during the last few weeks of his life, and his end was altogether peaceful. He was laid to rest in Badsey Churchyard the following Monday (Whit Monday) with every token of sorrow and respect. Surpliced choirmen bore the coffin from the School House to the church, school children lined the path as the sad procession passed through the churchyard and afterwards drew up round the grave for the concluding portion of the service, and the funeral was attended by a large and representative congregation many of whom had followed from the School House. The service was sung to Helmore's simple music, and although there had been so little time for practice, the choristers acquitted themselves most creditably. But by no means the least impressive part of the service was the reverent and sympathetic behaviour of the children above referred to; it was a most eloquent tribute to the character and influence of their late schoolmaster, and one with a wide experience in such matters said that, had he not been there to see for himself he could not have believed it possible for any such body of children to have behaved so beautifully as the Badsey children did that day.

At the conclusion of his sermon the Sunday after the funeral (Trinity Sunday) the Vicar referred to Mr. McDonald in the following terms: I cannot close to-night, you would not expect me to without saying one word about him whose mortal body was laid to rest in this churchyard on Monday last, though it is hardly necessary for me to dwell on what it has meant to the parishes to have such a man as John Henry McDonald as schoolmaster for some 20 years. On the occasion of his retirement I wrote in the Magazine what I knew to be the truth. Happy is the village with a schoolmaster such as ours was conscientious, straight, a shrewd and discriminating judge of character, like St. Paul's ideal bishop, 'vigilant,' 'patient,' 'apt to teach,' and, withal, a good Christian man and faithful son of the Church. He stands in need of no word of commendation from me or any other, for his credentials may be 'known and read of all men' in the long record of faithful work which he leaves behind.

"We had hoped that he might have been spared to spend a long period of retirement in our midst. We hoped for it, and we prayed for it. But God, Whose ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts than our thoughts, saw otherwise, and he has been called from this changeful world to the Paradise of God." R.I.P.