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Robert William ‘Rob’ McDonald

Robert William ‘Rob’ McDonald

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POLSON – Robert William “Rob” McDonald, M.D., was born March 8, 1968, in South Weymouth, Massachusetts. In late May 1968, Robert was adopted by William T. “Bill” and Esther Louise “Pink” McDonald of Wayland, Massachusetts. In early August 1968, the McDonald family moved from Massachusetts to Dana Point, Orange County, California. Robert grew up and lived there until he moved to Hoover, Alabama.

Robert attended Capistrano Valley Christian High School in San Juan Capistrano, California, graduating in June 1986. Robert was active in both football and basketball during his high school years, was popular socially, and received very good grades.

In September 1986, he entered the University of California at Irvine. In June 1990, Robert graduated with two bachelor’s degrees, one in biology and the other in linguistics. At graduation, he was very fluent in Spanish and proficient in French.

After graduation from UCI, Robert (he now preferred to be called “Rob”) joined the emergency medical technician staff at the UCI Medical Center in Santa Ana, California. Because many of the patients in that center were either Hispanic, speaking little or no English, or Vietnamese, understanding a little French but no English, Rob aided treatment of trauma patients and generally assisted doctors and nurses in communicating with both ethnic types of patients.

In the summer of 1994, Rob’s parents moved from Dana Point to Hoover, where his father took a post-retirement job with the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. Rob decided to apply to that university for graduate studies, and graduated in June 1996 with two master’s degrees, one in public health administration and one in business administration.

Subsequent to his graduation, Rob took a position with the AIDS Research Center at UAB, and was sent to Lusaka, Zambia, Africa, as director of an AIDS research and treatment clinic managed by the UAB AIDS Research Center at UAB. Rob served for nearly three years as director of that Zambian Center. In that beautiful African location, Rob began to develop his photographic talents, which continued to improve and mature throughout the rest of his life.

Returning from Zambia, Rob announced that he was going to apply to the UAB Medical School. He was admitted in September 2004 and received his M.D. degree in June 2008. At the end of his second year of medical school, Rob was elected president of his class for the third year. At the end to his third year, he was elected permanent president of the Class of 2008.

After graduation from the UAB Medical School, Rob immediately began a four-year internship at the UAB School of Medicine, specializing in internal medicine. After completing that internship, he undertook an additional two-year residency at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, specializing in infectious diseases. He completed that residency in July 2013.

After several interviews and some soul searching, Rob accepted a position as a staff physician at St. Joseph Hospital in Polson in September 2013. He was a member of the medical staff at St. Joseph until the day of his accidental death by drowning, July 19, 2014. He loved St. Joseph Hospital, the people and town of Polson, Flathead Lake and the state of Montana. Rob was married and divorced twice. There were no children.

Rob is survived by his parents, Bill and Pink McDonald of Darby; an older brother, William L. McDonald of Coolidge, Arizona; and an older sister, Lisa Marie Lewis of Darby. He is also mourned by many friends and relatives throughout this nation, as well as from Zambia and Canada.

Memorial services for Rob will be held Saturday, Aug. 2, at 1 p.m. at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 1002 Fourth Ave., Polson.

Arrangements are under the direction of Grogan Funeral Home and Crematory. Memories and condolences may be sent to the family at

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