David and Florence MacDougall of Largo would have been married 50 years today. But as they and their oldest daughter, Edith Scott, planned the details of a weekend anniversary party in Quincy, Mass., and other family members were packing to join them, David MacDougall died of a heart attack.
"Twenty-eight people were coming from all over the country _ California, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire," Mrs. Scott said. "It was the first time all the children and grandchildren have been together since 1979. Everyone was looking forward to it, especially him _ to have all his grandchildren together.
"It's so sad because we're having a funeral instead."
The MacDougalls flew in Friday, Mrs. Scott said, and spent some time with her, her husband, Philip, and sons David, 26, and Jim, 24. They had a cookout Sunday, but mostly they worked on the weekend festivities.
"My father went everywhere with me, planning the party," Mrs. Scott said. About 50 people, including relatives and former co-workers, were invited.
"His timing was a little off, I think," Mrs. Scott said, "but we could never have been together like this if he had died in Florida."
The MacDougalls lived and worked in the Quincy area 40 years before moving to Glenwood mobile home park, a retirement community on Ulmerton Road in Largo.
Mrs. Scott said she remembers what attracted her parents to Florida.
"I do photography," she said, "and they were never, ever interested in any of my photos until I showed them a picture of St. Pete Beach."
They started visiting the area, she said.
"Every time they went, they stayed longer and longer. You knew darn well they were looking for something _ a house!"
Ten years ago, MacDougall retired as personnel director of the Pneumatic Scale Corp. in Quincy, and the couple moved down and threw themselves into their new life.
Glenwood neighbors Alice and Ed Weaver were the MacDougalls' Tuesday lunch partners, usually at the Brown Derby on Madeira Beach. "He bowled. He loved to play poker," Mrs. Weaver said. He sometimes served as the master of ceremonies at the clubhouse, too.
Dick Parkinson worked with MacDougall in Quincy and also retired in Largo. He and his wife, Fran, had lunch with the MacDougalls every Thursday. "He was a very humorous man," Parkinson said. "He loved life. He had a boodle of friends.
"He was a different man retired than he was working," Parkinson said. "He couldn't do the horsing around when he was working."