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Saundra Carter McDonald

Saundra Carter McDonald, age 75, beloved wife, sister, mother and grandmother entered her eternal home on April 8, 2018.  She began this earthly life at home in Green Forest, Arkansas on Oct 3, 1942, the fourth daughter of Samuel (aka Sherman) Harold and Thelma O’Dell Carter. She spent her childhood in Northwest Arkansas, graduating from Mountain Home High School as valedictorian at the age of 15. She continued her formal education by attending the University of Arkansas where she made Phi Beta Kappa. She was the first woman from Arkansas to enter the Peace Corps in 1962 and spent her service in Brazil, blessing the lives of many, including Ademar Nuessner and Jaime Trentini whom later came to the U.S to live with her parents. While in Brazil, she joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and wrote to her college sweetheart about her conversion. Unbeknownst to Saundra, he had also found the church and written to her about his desire to know more, and their letters crossed in the mail. Upon returning home from Brazil, she married her best friend and eternal companion, Robert Dale McDonald on Nov 28, 1964.

Saundra was a gifted teacher by profession and by nature. She was a lifelong learner, and was constantly seeking after knowledge. She began her teaching career as a high school teacher but spent the majority of her time teaching in the JCC community, as both an early childhood educator and then as a teacher with the McGillis School, with much of this time spent in 3rd grade. She was an integral part in founding the McGillis School and was the very first teacher employed as this school began. She loved each of her students and they felt her love.

She was a devoted member of her church and served in numerous church callings throughout her adult life.  Her lifelong desire to serve a mission was first fulfilled in 2007 where she served with her husband in the Inner City Harvard Ward. In 2013, their second mission to the North Carolina Raleigh Mission brought them back to Camp LeJeune where they lived as newlyweds 50 years prior. Saundra and her husband Robert loved the service men and women they met as well as the missionaries they served alongside.

Saundra taught each of her 5 children and 19 grandchildren the importance of education. Whether formal or informal, each has continued to grow and learn, never satisfied with status quo.  Her legacy of love and her quest for knowledge continues to live on.

She is survived by her loving husband, Robert McDonald, two biological sisters: Joyce Carter of Mission, Kansas, Carol Carter of Toronto, Ontario, Siblings by choice: Nicole Boursier, Ademar Nuessner (Jimmie Lou), Jaime Trentini (Ana), 5 children: Mike McDonald (Amy Levine), Mark McDonald (Holli),  Nicole Ranck (Russell), Kristy Webb, Shannon Moss (Trenton), 19 grandchildren: Zachary Ranck (Tai), McKenzie Steele (Aaron), Jeremy Ranck, Kayli Maxfield (Eli), McKinnley McDonald, Jayden Moss, Marcus Evers, Tyler Ranck, Gabriel Webb, Kennedy McDonald, Jack McDonald, Coleman Moss, McCoy Evers, Kate McDonald, Caroline McDonald, Mitchell Evers, Chloe Moss, Annabelle Moss and Tayden Ranck and many other friends and family. She will be dearly missed by all.

Preceded in death by her parents and older sister, Irene Carter Hayden.

We as her children would like to express our love and appreciation to our devoted father who was so tender to our mother and showered her with love, care and patience. He is a source of strength to each of us. We love you Dad!

Funeral services will be held April 17, 2018 at 11:00 am at the Olympus 2nd Ward LDS Chapel, 3070 East Nila Way in Holladay, Utah.

Friends may visit with our family at the chapel on Monday, April 16, 2018 between the hours of 6:00 – 8:00 pm and before the service from 10:00 – 11:00 am. Interment will take place at the Holladay Memorial Cemetery.





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Tribute Wall for Saundra Carter McDonald

  1. Carroll Smith Wolstenholme says:

    Saundra was the sister I never had. We were close neighbors and served together in Relief Society. We became dear friends and had so much in common. I visited her several times in the last few weeks, and we shared so many wonderful memories. I was going to visit her yesterday so we could play our ukuleles together and found out on Tuesday she had passed away. I was absolutely stunned. This has been very hard for me. She will always be a bright spot in my life.
    I love Bob and the children and know she was deeply loved and tenderly cared for during the last few months of her valiant fight to get well. I too loved her and so do my children. I will always remember her and our sweet friendship of many years.

  2. Diane & Dan Henry says:

    Saundra was our daughter’s teacher at the JCC for 2 years. She was Danielle’s favorite, always greeting her with big smiles and hugs. She gave her such a joyful love of learning and friendships. After Danielle’s passing in 1999, Saundra always mentioned Danielle whenever we saw her and that is a gift to a parent who has lost a child. We are forever grateful for the joy Saundra brought to so many with her wonderful work as a teacher.

  3. Joanne McGillis says:

    Saundra was a gift to The McGillis School and it’s community! She was generous with her love for every student and they adored her in return. She was committed to the importance of a solid education…infused with the love of learning and importance of friendship.
    Saundra took ‘teaching’ to the highest plateau and I am personally grateful that she chose McGillis to educate and enhance the lives of all the students who will never forget her.
    May her beautiful memory continually be a blessing!

  4. Elliot Nielson says:

    Saundra was my 3rd grade teacher at McGillis, and my brother’s teacher a few years later. She welcomed us, and gave school a sense of community that was invaluable. She made a new school exciting instead of frightening. Our family will always remember her as the catalyst that started us on a love of learning that we’ve never lost.

  5. Jaime Trentini says:

    I met Saundra in Brazil when she was a volunter in the Peace Corps. She was young, very intelligent, kind, open minded and inquisitive. She had such a sweet personality that you wanted to be a friend or a brother to her. Saundra touched the lives of a lot of people with her kindness and love. She will never be forgoten.

  6. Anne Prince (Cutler) says:

    I am so sorry to hear about the passing of sweet Saundra. She was our neighbor for a few years and a special friend. I am thankful for all of the smiles and kind words she always freely gave! What a special lady!! She will truly be missed. Your family will be in my thoughts and prayers at this time.

  7. Barbara Brown says:

    I remember Sister Macdonald as a,missionary here in Jacksonville, NC and her never ending smile. She always has something nice to say about everyone. I remember her little rascal that she used intermittently with her cane. She and my husband, who passed through the veil in October are probably exchanging memories of this military town where she and her husband served as Military Relations Missionaries. She will be missed greatly and with much love.

  8. Dessie Manousakis says:

    I was shocked and saddened when I heard of Sandra’s passing. Although I just recently met her during our stay at Aspen Ridge, the impact she had on me was great. Indeed, with all the struggles she had, she was upbeat, hopeful and friendly. We shared several meals together and had wonderful talks. Her loving husband, Bob, was always by her side. Her daughters were often her companions and cheerleaders. My prayers and well wishes are with her beautiful family. I know she is in a better place, dancing and enjoying herself in God’s presence. I will never forget her! Her memory will be eternal.

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