Robert G. MacDonald – Upper Telegram


Robert Gordon MacDonald, 82, of Gordon, passed away on Friday, February 18, 2022, surrounded by his loving daughters. He was born in Superior on December 30, 1939.

Robert’s life has been a great adventure. In true Scottish fashion, those close to him wonder where the real adventures lie and where they got confused in the grand narrative. According to tradition, this tradition will continue to be told to future generations of MacDonalds.

This, we know, is true. Little Robbie was the fourth child of seven, the first son of Russell and Katherine (Gordon) MacDonald, and born in Superior, WI. He was welcomed into a large and loving family to see the last day of the 1930s.

Robb grew up on Oakes Avenue and went to Howe School. During the summers he spent time with his grandmother and grandfather Gordon in Gordon, WI. He graduated from Central High School in 1959. Like many of his father’s family members before him, he was a sailor at heart. He left Superior to navigate the Great Lakes, the Bering and South China Seas, the Panama and Suez Canals, and the Indian Ocean. An experienced sailor, he worked as a merchant marine bringing supplies to American troops in Vietnam in the 1960s.

In 1971 Robb met and married Nancy Louise Nelson, also of Superior. They moved to Saint Louis Park, MN, where four daughters were born to them at age 7½. They were married for 16 years.

Throughout the 1970s, he owned and operated a Clark gas station on Lake Street in South Minneapolis. Always looking to try something new; in 1981 he purchased an 1840s farmhouse in Hammond, WI and moved his family there. When farming in the mid-1980s got tough, he set his sights on Las Vegas, NV. With new opportunities in store, Robb worked as a taxi driver and then at Sam’s Town Casino until his retirement in 1999. Immediately after, he returned to northwestern Wisconsin to be closer to his daughters and his extended family. He bought an old property in Gordon and completely renovated it to suit his needs. The world traveler was happy. He lived the rest of his life under dark star filled nights and lazy sunny days in his family’s town.

Preceding him in death are his dearest grandparents, Joseph & Sarah Gordon and Rachel (Angus) MacDonald; his parents, Katherine and Russell MacDonald, his beloved sisters Bonnie Rae and Kay Adair, and his nephew Bradley Lagro.

He leaves to mourn many families. His four daughters who will be greatly missed: Sarah (John) Selleck, Molly (Rick) Warring, Kate (Chad) Pavlich and Bonnie (Charlie) Maliska. His 7 grandchildren, who were his pride and joy; Daniel, Tyler, Suzanne, Evelyn, Joshua, Jackson and Cameran. His brothers and sisters; Sue Tofteland, Doug (Mary) MacDonald, Warren MacDonald, Cam (Judy) MacDonald. And many other cousins, nieces and nephews – whom he really adored.

His life will be celebrated at a private family memorial in Gordon this summer.

The rest of the details of his story are all speculative. His knowledge, his wit, his wisdom and his awe-inspiring tales will be sorely missed… but, of course, will be dutifully pursued.

“Old too soon, smart too late… I should have stayed at sea.” RGM 05/01/2021.

Downs Funeral Home, 1617 N 19th St., is helping the family make arrangements. To leave a condolence online, please visit


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