Magreta Hite McDonald (Reta): September 29, 1936 – May 8, 2019
Reta grew up in East Jordan, MI. She studied Elementary Education at Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC, and graduated in 1963. She also served on the staff there for a time. Two important events took place in those years. First, on April 28, 1955, Reta came to understand that Jesus Christ made a way to be certain of heaven. A dear friend led her in praying and asking for forgiveness of sin, trusting in Jesus as her Savior. At that moment, Jesus became the master of her life. Second, on April 22, 1956, she had her first date with Morris McDonald, who became her mate for life.
For fifty-seven pleasant years, Reta fulfilled her role as a pastor’s wife. Their ministry took them to Lakeland, FL, Greenville, SC, Lebanon, PA, Nashville, TN, and finally to Palm Harbor, FL, in June, 2000. Reta also served the General Synod by doing the computer work to prepare the annual Synod minutes for publication each year. A highlight each year was to travel to the various sites of the annual Synod of the Bible Presbyterian Church. In God’s providence, there were no children early on, but God surprised the McDonalds, after nineteen years of marriage, with their son, Jonathan, in 1980.
When Morris was called to be the first Field Representative for the newly formed Presbyterian Missionary Union in the spring of 1985, Reta served as the office assistant from day one when the office opened in Nashville, TN. She filled that position until 2002, when Morris retired from PMU. Morris and Reta worked on typewriters and mimeograph machines at first, and then computers with tiny screens and large floppy discs. Reta helped to prepare the monthly Missions Banner, did the bookkeeping, helped Morris communicate with missionaries and prospects, and prepared and sent out missionary prayer letters. Reta loved the many-faceted work of PMU, and often traveled with Morris to churches and conferences for meetings, which was a great help to him on the road. She also assisted through the years with packing approximately $330,000 worth of Bibles for shipment overseas to Bible schools, pastors, and missionaries— a major undertaking.
Following heart and kidney complications and a brief stay in hospice, Reta entered into the presence of Jesus Christ at 5:20 PM, May 8, 2019. Her service in the Church and devotion to Christ helped set the tone for PMU’s continuing service to the Bible Presbyterian Church and the Church at large. We rejoice in her memory! Please keep Dr. McDonald and Jonathan in your prayers, and the Suncoast congregation as well. “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.”