Southwestern donor Wayne McDonald dies at 84

Ashley Allen
| Jan 25, 2023

Longtime Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary donor and friend Wayne McDonald passed away Jan. 14 at his home in Austin, Texas. He was 84.

“The Southwestern community extends our Christian sympathy to the McDonald family at this time even as we give thanks to God for the life, influence, and generosity of Wayne McDonald,” said David S. Dockery, interim president of Southwestern Seminary. “We celebrate the contributions and lasting difference that he made on this campus. We pray for God's presence and peace for the family during this time.”

Together with his late wife, Mary Louise, the couple provided scholarships for seminary students and supported mission trips through the Wayne and Mary Louise Charitable Foundation, and established the Wayne and Mary Louise McDonald Expendable Scholarship Fund and the Wayne and Mary Louise McDonald Designated Student Aid Fund at Southwestern Seminary.

Since the Horner House opened on Southwestern Seminary’s campus in 2009, hundreds of female students have been taught in classes held in the Mary Louise McDonald Library located on the first floor. McDonald gave the library in honor of his wife.

A native of San Antonio, McDonald was born Sept. 16, 1938, and grew up playing football and baseball, including playing in the inaugural Pony League Baseball championship game. McDonald scored the first run in the San Antonio team’s win against the team from Brockton, Massachusetts.

McDonald’s athletic prowess earned him a full athletic scholarship to the University of Texas at Austin. Originally set to play football under legendary Texas coach Darrell Royal, a knee injury prevented play on the Texas Longhorns football team. However, Texas Baseball Coach Bibb Falk offered McDonald a spot on the baseball team. As an outfielder, he led the team to Southwest Conference Championship titles in 1958 and 1960, earned All-Southwest Conference honors in 1958 and 1959, and was a member of the All-Southwest Conference Outfield in 1960. McDonald was inducted into the University of Texas Hall of Honor in 1979. McDonald was affiliated with UT athletics throughout his lifetime, including serving as chairman of the Longhorn Foundation and serving on the Longhorn Foundation Advisory Council.

Following his college baseball career, and graduation from UT with a bachelor of science degree in 1960, McDonald played professional baseball for the Milwaukee Braves baseball organization until 1963. 

While at UT, McDonald met Mary Louise, a native of Midland, Texas. They married in 1961 and remained so until her passing in Aug. 2020.

The McDonald family returned to Austin following his baseball career where he spent the entirety of his career working for Temple-Inland, Inc., where he eventually became the chief financial officer. Known for his business acumen and strategic thinking, McDonald used these same skills to help churches and ministries in planning, finances, and vision casting.

McDonald and his family were active members of Hyde Park Baptist Church in Austin, Texas, after he met Ralph Smith, the church’s late former pastor, in 1970. McDonald served at HPBC in a variety of capacities including deacon chairman, capital campaign chairman, and finance committee chairman. In 2007, McDonald and a group of 80 people felt led to begin a new church, Austin Baptist Church, in Austin, Texas. McDonald served as the chairman of the executive committee as the church plant was beginning. He served as a deacon, among other areas of ministry, until his death.

During a celebration of life service held Jan. 21 at Austin Baptist Church, McDonald was recalled as a man who loved the Lord, his family, his church, and others. His generosity to advance the Kingdom of God and help others was also recounted in stories and testimonies from his family, longtime friends, and pastor, Jonathan Spencer.

McDonald is survived by his daughter Debbie McDonald Hughes, and husband, John; son, Wayne, and wife Nancy; his five grandchildren and their spouses, Kari Helm, and husband Jeff; Casey McMickle, and husband, Scott; Wayne McDonald, Jr., Victoria McDonald, and Valerie Todd, and husband, Jack; and his great-grandchildren David and Elizabeth Helm. 

A family obituary can be found here.