Joan Clare McDonald

July 27, 1945 - March 17, 2024

Joan Clare Weiss McDonald, 78, passed away on Sunday, March 17, 2024, in Charlottesville, Virginia. A 20 year Wintergreen resident, Joan is remembered by her family for her zest for life, her generosity and her love for her family and friends.

She was born on July 27, 1945, in Moosic, Pennsylvania. Her parents were Clare and Joseph Weiss and her siblings are Mary Ann Weiss Iskra and Joseph Weiss. Joan graduated from St. John the Evangelist High School in Pittston, PA. She received her BA in Elementary and Special Education from Marywood College in 1967 and her MS in Special Education from Southern Connecticut State College.

She worked as a Special Education teacher for 36 years in the Bridgeport, Connecticut school system (Waltersville, Newfield and P.L. Dunbar). She was a member of numerous education associations.

Joan met the love of her life, Thomas “Tucker” McDonald in 1965. After their marriage in 1967, they lived in Bridgeport and Fairfield, Connecticut for over 35 years, and retired to Wintergreen, Virginia in 2005.

In Virginia, Joan volunteered through the years with many organizations. She volunteered as an art teacher at the Red Hill Elementary school and she was a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Central Blue Ridge for over 10 years (earning Mentor of the year). Joan was an active member of St. Thomas Aquinas University Parish in Charlottesville, Virginia and was also actively involved in supporting IMPACT Charlottesville (Interfaith Movement Promoting Action by Congregations Together).

Most importantly, Joan was involved in the Tri-Parish Haiti Ministry for many years and traveled to Haiti 4 times. She was instrumental in creating an art program for Haitian students, and she in turn created note cards from their drawings. Her creativity was evident in all aspects of the Ministry – including the “Hearts for Haiti” sponsorship and the “Hope for Haiti” Golf Tournament. She was also responsible for securing artists for all of the metal artwork sold through the church and at art fairs to support Haitian artisans.

Her loves were her family (especially her 2 grandsons), her friends, her dog, Daisy, her garden, the Haiti group, the Boston Red Sox and Women’s college basketball (especially the UConn Huskies). She loved to travel and enjoyed annual trips to Cape Cod (stopping along the way to visit her CT friends), the Women’s NCAA Final Four tournaments (Joan, Tom and 2 of their closest friends, Kendall and Charlie, attended over a dozen tournaments) and numerous trips every year to visit her family in Pennsylvania and New York.

Joan is survived by her husband, Tom McDonald, sister Mary Ann Weiss Iskra, brother Joseph Weiss (Elvira), daughter Dina McDonald (Jeff Taschler), grandsons Zachary and Will Taschler, sister-in-law Ann McDonald McGraw, nieces, nephews, and cousins.

A funeral mass will be held at 11:30 am on Wednesday, March 20, 2024 at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, 405 Alderman Road, Charlottesville, VA 22903. Memorials will also be held in Pennsylvania and Connecticut at future dates.

Memorial donations in Joan’s name can be made to the Haiti Project, St. Thomas Aquinas Church.