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Barbara's Story

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Barbara Jean Thurlow MacDonald, 89, of Winnetka, Illinois, died on January 6, 2017, in her home.
She was born on February 1, 1927 in Ames, Iowa to John and Harriet Thurlow. With an older brother, David, she was the youngest of two children. The family later moved to Ottumwa, Iowa where she graduated from Ottumwa High School in 1945.
She attended Grinnell College for a year before transferring to Iowa State University in Ames, IA. She was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, and received a degree in Applied Art. Following graduation, she worked as a radio continuity editor for several years in Kansas City, MO. In 1956, she accepted a marketing position with Swift and Company and relocated to Chicago, Illinois. She would later earned a masters degree in Foods and Nutrition from Northern Illinois University.
In Chicago, she joined the Fourth Presbyterian Church where she co-chaired the Christian Education Committee for the Northminster young singles group (the Northies). This group was significant for her in two ways: it provided a circle of friends to which she remained close for the rest of her life; and it introduced her to Alister MacDonald, whom she married on February 27, 1960.
Barbara and Alister MacDonald settled on Chicagos north side before moving to Wilmette in 1967. MacDonald family activities throughout their married life centered at the Presbyterian Churches in Wilmette and Evanston.
While raising their three sons Alexander, John, and Dan Barbara operated a freelance editorial service. She wrote several cookbooks, articles for magazines and newspapers, television scripts, and product promotions. She was a part-time food writer for the Chicago Tribune, and wrote weekly food columns for the Chicago Daily News, Chicago Sun Times, and Pioneer Press.
After her family was grown, she worked as a publicist and director of development for the Evanston Environmental Association and nonprofit Christian organizations including Circle Family Care, Augustana Center, and finally St. Pauls House, where she worked until her retirement in 1997.
Survivors include her husband, Alister MacDonald, sons, Alexander, John, and Dan (Amanda), grand-daughter, Blair, and number nieces and nephews. Memorials may be made to Doctors Without Borders USA, P.O. Box 5030, Hagerstown, MD 21741-5030
Published on January 31, 2017
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