The Reverend Ian Uidhist Macdonald was a cherished and highly regarded minister who faithfully served Tarbolton Parish Church until his “retirement” nearly two decades ago.
Post his retirement, he continued to preach across various parishes whenever called upon to fill in for vacancies. He was often sought after to officiate weddings and funerals for members of different congregations.
Born into a ministerial family, his father, Neil G Macdonald, hailed from North Uist and served as a devoted minister on Tiree and in Kilchoan for 37 years. He was married to Mary Cameron, and together they had twin sons, Ian and Cameron. Both boys received their education at Kilchoan Primary School and Oban High School.
Mr. Macdonald pursued divinity studies at Edinburgh University, where he met his wife, Ella Cooper, a medical student who later became a biology teacher.
Following his graduation and training, he commenced his ministry in 1960 at Strathfillan Church in St Fillans, within the Presbytery of Lorn. Subsequently, he answered the call to Ayrshire in April 1967, an event presented by his father, Reverend Neil. His ministry in Tarbolton extended until his retirement in November 1997. He was known for his compassionate and reflective nature, embodying his faith unshakably while possessing an innate ability to perceive the best in all humanity.
Despite his devotion to his Ayrshire congregation, his heart remained in Ardnamurchan. He and Ella returned annually to their family home in Kilchoan. These visits were opportunities to reconnect with friends, sharing humorous anecdotes and reliving cherished memories. His charismatic and good-natured disposition made these gatherings enjoyable and never offensive.
He was adept in rowing and fishing, often seen alongside Ella near Ardnamurchan Point, hauling in ample mackerel and lythe. The pair would then delight in sharing their catch, embracing the simple pleasure of engaging with others in conversation, often lasting until the early hours of the morning.
His remarkable wit, coupled with an exceptional memory, made him a sought-after after-dinner speaker, particularly at Burns Suppers. As a member of The Bachelors’ Club, he could engage proficiently in discussions about the Bard, a remarkable feat in Ayrshire. The Church, his family, and his involvement in freemasonry, where he was a member of Lodge St James (Kilwinning) Tarbolton No 135, were his passions. He served as the provincial chaplain in Ayrshire from 1978 until his passing, an achievement marked by a special dinner and presentation of the Honorary Depute Grand Master of Ayrshire title, a role he held after serving eight provincial masters.
He also held the position of Senior Grand Chaplain in the Grand Lodge of Scotland from 1987 to 1989.
Preceded in death by his cherished Ella and his brother Cameron, he leaves behind his sons Neil and David, along with their wives Anne and Susan, and his adored grandchildren.
On 24 January 1974, Rev. Ian Uidhist MacDonald resided over the Bachelors’ Club Burns Supper as fourth President and Chairman.
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