John (Jack) Richard Macdonald was born on December 5, 1932 to John and Evelyn Macdonald in Eureka and peacefully passed away at home with family on September 29, 2020.

A fifth-generation Eureka resident, Jack attended Marshall Elementary, Eureka Junior High, Eureka High School and graduated from Analy High School, in Sebastopol in 1950. After two years at Santa Rosa Junior College, Jack attended San Jose State University. A proud member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, he graduated from university in 1955 with a degree in business.

After an adventurous road trip through Europe with his childhood friend Bob Prior, he moved back to Eureka and partnered with his family in developing local motels. The Safari Motel, located at the corner of Broadway and Seventh, was the original. During the early sixties they developed the Reef Motel in Crescent City just in time for the huge tsunami that wreaked havoc in 1964.

In 1963, Jack fell in love with Linda Helen Hill, who was the love of his life until the day he passed away. They married on December 16, 1964. During the following decade, together, Jack and Linda developed two more Eureka properties – The Matador Motel and the Carson House Inn (franchised in 1998 to a Quality Inn). Motel 6 - Gold Beach, Campton House Guest Cottage and the Historic Benbow Inn rounded out their lodging portfolio. Along with the development and management of lodging properties, Jack acquired a variety of real estate throughout the county and held his real estate broker’s license for over 30 years.

Jack valued community service and began his involvement during his 20s with his membership in Eureka’s junior chamber of commerce. Notable leadership included: co-founder and past president of the Eureka/Humboldt County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, past president of the Greater Eureka Chamber of Commerce, past president of the Ingomar Club, and past president and 30+ year board member of the Humboldt County Fair. He was a member of Eureka Rotary since 1980 and for over 10 years co-chaired the annual Rotary raffle. On a state level, he was past president of the Redwood Empire Association, and two-time past president of the California Lodging Industry Association.

Love of family was Jack’s greatest accomplishment. He and Linda had three daughters – Jill, Polly and Sally (Christian). An extremely close family, all three daughters live in Eureka and at very early ages actively participated in the family business, learning the importance of hard work and community service that was demonstrated by their father. Whether work or fun, family time was the center of Jack’s life; summers in Redway, hunting season at Shower’s Pass, Thanksgivings in Sunriver, trips to Puerto Vallarta, Sunday night dinners, and travels around the world. Macdonald family life was full of love, laughter, and lots of adventure, especially after the arrival of Jack’s eight grandchildren: John (Jake) and Cameron Lourenco; Daphne, Camilla, and Clare Endert; and Jack, Sophie, and Nate Hill.

After Linda died in 2003, Jack and his sister Marcia continued to travel extensively. They had a trip planned this September that was canceled due to COVID. Jack stepped foot on every continent. We can’t forget to mention the importance of all of Jack’s bar buddies that he acquired throughout the years – of late, his group at 707 Bar, and the iconic group at Roy’s Club - memorialized in a Michael Hayes painting.

Kind, intelligent, adventurous and loyal are words that describe Jack Macdonald. He acquired and kept friends throughout his life because anyone who knew him loved him. His love for his family and those close to him was larger than life and now so poignant to all of us that feel the huge void of his loss. He was a benchmark of measure.

Truly unfortunate that these unprecedented times do not allow for a proper memorial “party” in honor of our father. We ask all who loved Jack to have a drink in his honor at 4 p.m. on the 13th of October and share any stories that you may have with us at your convenience, either online or through the mail.


The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Jack Macdonald’s loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.