Herbie’s life was marked by hard work, compassion and a gift for storytelling. Born on September 14, 1944, he was the son of the late Malcolm and Cassie MacDonald. At the young age of 17, he left Mabou, Nova Scotia and headed to Toronto, Ontario. It was there he managed to convince someone that he was old enough to become an Ironworker, a career where he not only made a living but also many lifelong friends.
Raising his family in Ontario, they never missed a summer on the East Coast and his home was always open to family and friends traveling to Toronto. He had a large community of friends with whom he enjoyed many a sing-along at a kitchen party, a “down east dance” and may also have been spotted at the harness races a few times. Later in life, after a significant injury on the job, he navigated a career shift and became a tireless advocate, representing fellow workers in their Workers Compensation claims, first for the Ironworkers and then for the United Food and Commercial Workers.
Herbie’s legacy is carried forward by those he held dearest. He is survived by his wife, Gina MacDonald, and will be eternally proud of his children Mia and Brett Huntington, Herb (Max) MacDonald and Anna Shipside, and his beloved grandsons, Kyle and Owen Huntington. The enduring bonds of family extend to his first wife, Sheila MacDonald with whom he navigated the many joys and challenges of life. He formed a special bond and will be missed by Gina’s children, Bradley and Tera Broeckel and Amy and Garry Mulder.
Herbie’s family tree is rooted in a rich Cape Breton history, as he was the baby of ten siblings who formed a close-knit and vibrant clan. Herbie cherished his brothers, sisters, and their families. He is survived by Pat and Marie MacDonald, Leo and Cassie MacDonald, Jenny and Jack MacDonald, Christena MacDonald along with his many nieces and nephews that will miss him dearly.
Herbie is preceded in death by his siblings, Finlay Roddie and Maureen MacDonald, Catherine Theresa (Tiddy) and Alex MacNeil, Allister and Lee MacDonald, Betty and Dak Kennedy, Annie Mae and Donald Francis MacDonnell as well as his nephew Bernie and nieces Cathy, Karen and Jackie.
His genuine kindness towards everyone he met created a lasting impact on those that knew him. As we bid farewell, may our many shared memories be a source of strength and bring comfort to all who will miss him.
Funeral arrangements entrusted to Gilbert MacIntyre and Son Funeral Home-Hart Chapel, 1099 Gordon Street, Guelph (519-821-5077). A Celebration of Life will be held in the summer of 2024 at which time he will be laid to rest with his parents in Mabou, Nova Scotia.