Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 15, 1999

ANNA MONICA / L’Observateur / December 15, 1999

Matthew came to see me last week. When I first opened the door, I couldimmediately tell he was troubled. His handsome face was somber and sad,and he spoke more quietly than usual. He said he was supposed to be goingto a basketball game that night with a good friend. Instead, he had gonethat day to his friend’s funeral. The friend was Glen McDonald.My nephews, Matthew and Michael, lost their own father, my brother, Tony, at Christmas time almost 11 years ago. Then, Glen and his wife Francestook their mom, Linda, and the boys into their hearts and lives. Lindaworked with Frances, who is nursing supervisor at the St. John HealthUnit, but that working relationship quickly turned into a close and warm liaison between the two families.

Glen and Frances had two children, Todd McDonald and Angie Roussel, but everyone embraced everyone else and Matthew and Michael had two special people filling in a very large gap in their lives.

Glen McDonald was a native of Sabine Parish, yet those who knew him can hardly remember his not being here. He married Frances Perret of Edgardonly nine months after they met. They met at an alumni dance at EdgardHigh, where Glen was teaching history and P.E in 1962. Glen also taught atBelmont High, coached basketball and baseball at Terrebonne High and West Monroe and did the same at Ferriday for eight years. Coming to St.John on Dec. 31, 1980, he first went to Godchaux Junior High and after 30years of service in the education system, retired from East St. John High,where he assisted in basketball and track.

This was a tall, quiet man who said little but cared very much about those around him. The counted cross stitch work that filled many of his hoursreflects his creativity and thoughtfulness and appears to be the work of a master craftsman. Glen was especially pleased to give his creations asgifts to his friends, and eventually Frances got caught up in his passion for this work and began creating pieces of her own. They could do thistogether as they did most activities.

Retirement had only made Glen busier. In addition to his needlework heplayed golf, did numerous duties in and outside the house for his wife of 36 years, even when not asked, and as a doting grandfather often babysat Toddy and Allison’s daughter Amber as well as Angie and Toby’s offspring, Ashley, Jake and Jenna.

For as young as they are, our family children have had a considerable number of losses of people they loved. I feebly attempted to explain toMatthew there is a purpose for our lives and everything that lives eventually dies. But, if I were 19 with my entire life ahead of me, I wouldbe perplexed and troubled, too.

We can find more answers if we have a religious bent, but if not the mystery of life looms even greater. Glen always had time for the boys asthough they were his own, taking them to school, picking them up when needed, and he was always there as a father figure for them. Matthew doeshave faith, but he is young and only knows that he and Michael have had to say goodbye to someone they deeply loved – again.

Matthew thought he might go to the basketball game that night anyhow. Hethanked me for talking to him. His shoulders still slumped a little as heleft. He was carrying Glen in his heart.

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