Peter Garwood McDonald

March 29, 2013

peter_mcdonaldPeter was born May 30, 1940 in Portland. His parents were Sir James and Lady McDonald (Anne Kerr). He attended Riverdale School and the Thacher School in Ojai, Calif. before graduating from Brown University. His interest in the environment led him to earn a BA in Botany and subsequently a Master’s degree in Forestry from Duke, followed by a year studying worldwide forestry at Hamburg University, Germany. Peter then embarked on a life of travels and adventures. At the age of 25, he signed on with the Government of Kenya to administer a million acres of Forest Reserve and plantations. He harvested, reforested and commanded fire-fighting on large swathes of northern Kenya as a Divisional Forest Officer. There he met and married his wife, Jill, a resident of Nairobi. After six years in forest management and silviculture, he was encouraged by his father to take on and farm the family property in Wilsonville. As a farewell to Africa, Peter and Jill drove across the continent, through the jungles of the Congo and across the Sahara desert in their trusty landrover, rather than just boarding a northbound plane. They were, however, to return many times on safaris with their friends and family to share the glories of their beloved Kenya. On arriving in Oregon, Peter decided that Inchinnan Farm was perfect for the cultivation of filberts (hazelnuts). The orchards thrived and Peter was named Nut Grower of the Year in 1990. Alongside the filberts, he planted and managed many acres of forest and was named Oregon Tree Farmer of the Year 1993. Because of his experience and expertise the State Department invited him to advise agriculturists and foresters in Bolivia, Brazil and the Republics of Azerbaijan and Georgia. Peter felt a strong responsibility to his community. He was very active in organizations concerned with the environment, such as The Nature Conservancy and with the preservation of agricultural land. He was on the founding board of 1000 Friends of Oregon, a group dedicated to promoting awareness of the benefits of land-use planning, as set forth in Senate Bill 100. In recognition of his commitment to these principles, he was presented with the 2013 Tom McCall Legacy Award by 1000 Friends. He was also involved in many cultural organizations, including the St. Andrew’s Society and the Oregon Historical Society. Peter died peacefully at his home surrounded by his family. He is survived by Jill his wife of 44 years; his son, James (Vanessa); his daughter, Jennifer (Douglas); and granddaughter, Emma; as well as his sisters, Laurie Meigs and Jane Malarkey. One of Peter’s fondest wishes was the preservation of Elk Rock as a botanic garden open to the public. Instead of flowers, the family suggests remembrances may be made in his name to The Friends of Elk Rock Garden, 1000 Friends of Oregon or The Nature Conservancy.

Memorial donations can be sent to the Friends of Elk Rock Garden at PO box 69244, Portland OR, 97239.

Published in The Oregonian on April 7, 2013

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