William E. Macdonald



Bangor/ Ellsworth

William E. Macdonald, Esq. passed away at the age of 72 on Jan. 8, 2021. Bill was born in Bangor on July 24, 1948, to Donald F. Macdonald, M.D., and Katherine G. Macdonald.

Bill was the proud father of two children, Bradford S. Macdonald, Esq., of Amherst, who followed the footsteps of his father in the private practice of law in Bangor, and Whitney A. Macdonald, Ph.D., of New York City, N.Y., where she works as an immunologist and medical strategist.

Bill graduated from John Bapst High School in 1966 and went on to graduate from the University of Maine in 1970. Bill earned his law degree from the New England School of Law in 1973, where he graduated cum laude and served as an editor of the New England Law Review.

After law school, Bill opened a general private practice in Bangor. In his first year of practice, Bill gained notoriety by winning the “buzzer phone case” against New England Telephone. He was a steadfast and passionate advocate of “the regular guy.” Bill had a no-nonsense, down-to-earth, colorful style and could strike up a conversation with anyone. He had a way of making his clients feel relaxed and at home in his office. Bill could fiercely represent his client, while at the same time show respect to his adversary.

Bill was a partner in the firm of Limberis & Macdonald from 1981 to 1984. In 1984, he returned to a solo private practice, opening his office on French Street in Bangor and then moving in 1987 to newly designed and constructed space in Evergreen Woods. In 1991, Bill was joined by David Chase, who ultimately acquired the firm in 1998 when Bill retired for health reasons.

Bill was a pacesetter in Maine for the use and promotion of paralegals in the law firm. He recognized that the talents and skills of non-lawyers could bolster the diversity of his practice. Together with Ben Obermann and Elaine Holland, Bill built a strong practice in the areas of Social Security and Workers’ Compensation law.

And then there was Bill’s lifelong interest in boats. It started as a child with small boats on Lucerne Lake and advanced to larger boats from Green Lake to Penobscot Bay to Florida. His place was at the helm of his favorite boats — T-MAC in Florida, Mariah at Moosehead and a cabin cruiser, Breakaway, at Buck’s Harbor. Bill’s trademark was the picture of a cabin cruiser that he doodled on everything. Bill held nautical memberships with Belfast Boat Club, Green Lake Association, Island Institute, Maine Island Trail Association, Moosehead Lake Yacht Club, Moosehead Marine Museum, Moosehead Lake Fisheries Coalition, “The Katahdin” and Lake Champlain Committee.

Bill was known to family and friends for his kindness and generosity. He would give the shirt off his back and never look for anything in return. He loved to share good food, including his famous spaghetti sauce or seafood.

Bill was never so happy as when he met the love of his life and first mate, Terri Beal. Bill and Terri were married on the deck of his Green Lake home surrounded by family and friends, who joined them for a lobster feast on the beach. Bill and Terri wintered in Fort Myers Beach for a number of years and extensively cruised the Gulf Coast and Key West. They took a cruise down the Intracoastal Waterway from Virginia to Fort Myers Beach together with their cruising friends, Larry and Lucille Cessna. They enjoyed magical times cruising the New England coast from Maine to Cuttyhunk, Block Island, Newport, Gloucester, Salem, Boston Harbor, Provincetown and favorite, Edgartown at Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. They loved adventures in their motorhome, snowmobiling and four-wheeling. Bill felt blessed that Terri entered his life, and he cherished the ground she walked on. He treasured the time they were together, her unconditional love and her adventuresome spirit. Bill weathered many health issues because of her unwavering devotion.

Bill never lost his spirit as his medical conditions gradually caused him to abandon the outdoor activities he loved so much. Bill was humbled by his need to rely on others to accomplish activities of daily living. He was deeply grateful for the unconditional devotion and care he received from Terri. He was also thankful for the many hours his mother-in-law, “Nana,” spent by his side, as well as having his stepdaughter, Jamie, there with a helping hand for “Pop” at the drop of a hat. Bill was very appreciative of the love, companionship and help with his care from his stepdaughters, Kaycie and Jamie; step-son-in-law, Jim; and his children, Brad and Whitney, during his last days. A special thank you to the Northeast Nephrology Group and the staff at DaVita Dialysis in Ellsworth for the wonderful care Bill received there during his dialysis treatments since February of 2013. He considered them his “dialysis family.”

Bill was predeceased by his parents; stepfather, George R. Walker, M.D.; brother, Donald F. Macdonald Jr.; brother-in-law, Jose Fueyo, Ph.D.; niece, Kate Caruso; father-in-law, Aubrey H. Carter; special friends, Budd and Barb Spaulding; and his much-loved kitty, Mac. In addition to his wife and children, Bill is survived by his siblings, Judy A. Fueyo, Ph.D., of Eastham, Mass.; Jane Katherine Caruso and her husband, Rick, of Conyers, Ga.; and Robert H. Macdonald and his partner, Ellen Westling, of Hamilton, Mass.; nieces and nephews; a special mother-in-law and friend, Helen “Nana” Carter of Ellsworth; Terri’s stepmother, Jeanie Carter; stepchildren, Jamie L. Campbell Lay and her husband, James T. Lay III, of Woodbine, Ga.; Kaycie L. Campbell and her fiancé, James “Bub” Perry, of Hancock; and Gregory S. Beal of St. Petersburg, Fla.; grandchildren, Gavin M. Joy of Port Saint Lucie, Fla., and Alexandra “Ali” Goodwin of Southwest Harbor; and his first wife and mother of his children, Carole MacDonald of Bangor.

Bill will be missed by special friends, John and Deborah Darling, T. Mike and Beth Dalton, Jim and Helen Cochrane, Joe Jenkins and his partner, Malen Hsu, Dana and Debbie Drillen and Elaine and Wyatt Holland, as well as attorney colleagues and friends, David Chase, David Leen, Mike Friedman, Peter Weatherbee, Tony Beardsley and Judge James Patterson. Bill will also be missed by his special kitty companions, Molly and Macy.

Thank you to Rev. Ruth Martin and the Union Congregational Church, where Bill had an associate membership, for their support and prayers over the years. The family would also like to thank Kathryn Rensenbrink, M.D., Zoe Tenney, F.N.P., Sheila Worden, R.N. and the Northern Light Hospice Group for their support. Due to COVID, there will not be a service at this time. A celebration of life will be planned at a future date.