NEW PORT RICHEY — Victoria "Vicki" McDonald, who served energetically as city clerk for eight years, died Wednesday (June 10, 2009) after a yearlong bout with a rare form of cancer. She was 72.
Mrs. McDonald's colleagues say she tackled her duties of keeping records and minutes with conscientiousness, attentiveness and pep.
"She was fiery and feisty," said Caprena Latimore, the city's redevelopment manager and Mrs. McDonald's close friend. "She was a get-it-done kind of person."
Dan Tipton, who was mayor between 2004 and 2007, remembers Mrs. McDonald being a friendly first face at City Hall when he first ran for mayor.
"She treated me very well," he said. "That's how she was all the time."
She was born in 1937 and raised in Bound Brook, N.J. After attending Trenton State Teachers College, Rutgers and Syracuse University, she became a municipal clerk and administrator in Hillsborough Township, N.J., and Redington Beach and Belleair Beach.
Since 1950 Mrs. McDonald had frequented the Tampa Bay area to visit her parents in St. Petersburg. She and her husband, Thomas, moved to New Port Richey nine years ago, about the same time she started working for the city.
A year ago, doctors told Mrs. McDonald she had an aggressive form of cancer that left her with two or three months to live. She had five operations, radiation and chemotherapy, but they could not contain the cancer. She retired in April 2008.
"She enjoyed her work — that's why she stayed working," husband Thomas McDonald said. "She just didn't think, with the amount of pain she was in, that she could do the job right."
Even as her illness advanced, acting city manager Jeff Sutton said he never saw Mrs. McDonald down or depressed.
Mrs. McDonald loved working as a city clerk, which was all she had ever done, and she never desired to retire, Latimore said.
"If she hadn't gotten sick, she would still be working at the city now," Tipton said.
Mrs. McDonald is survived by her husband Thomas, their four children and seven grandchildren.
Last year, her 12-year-old grandson had a class exercise in which all the students were asked what they would do with $200. He said he would go to the airport and fly down to stay with his grandma.
Isaac Arnsdorf can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 869-6232.