Patricia Ann Macdonald, a homemaker who fought for social justice as a political activist, died Nov. 3, her family said. She was 87.
Mrs. Macdonald was reported missing after driving away from her Sacramento home on an errand Nov. 2. Her body was found Nov. 13 inside her car off a 150-foot road embankment near Foresthill in Placer County. The cause of death is pending, said her daughter, Scott Ann Setzer.
Like many women of her generation with few professional opportunities, Mrs. Macdonald left her job at a bank to be a housewife after getting married in the 1950s. Although devoted to supporting her husband, a Sacramento school district official, and raising their daughter, she yearned for more in life as social change began to sweep the country.
“She was one of those women who was born before her time,” her daughter said. “She wanted to do things and be things, and it was difficult for women back then. But that got her into the equal rights movement.”
Besides attending meetings and stuffing envelopes, Mrs. Macdonald joined the front lines of peace and equality movements. She walked precincts for liberal politicians and marched for civil rights for minorities and women.
During the Vietnam War, she helped start the Sacramento Draft Help Center to advise young men facing conscription. She risked her own domestic peace by opening her home as a rest stop for resisters from other states who were fleeing to Canada.
“Some of what she did wasn’t what my father would have chosen for her to do, but he would never have told her what she could or couldn’t do,” Setzer said. “That’s why she married him. Both of my parents were all about fairness in the world.”
A Sacramento native, Patricia Ann Powers was born Sept. 8, 1926. Her father, John, was a truck driver who was often away while her mother, Florence, raised five children at home and sewed religious garments for the Catholic bishop of Sacramento.
“She saw her own mother struggle, with no education or options,” Setzer said.
Mrs. Macdonald graduated from Sacramento High School and worked at Bank of America until she married at 26. Her husband Phillip Macdonald, who became classified personnel director for the Sacramento City Unified School District, died in 1981.
The following year, Mrs. Macdonald went to work for a decade helping constituents obtain jobs, employment benefits, health care and other services as district director for state Assemblyman Lloyd Connelly. She was active in campaigns to shut the Rancho Seco nuclear power plant and volunteered with WEAVE, or Women Escaping a Violent Environment.
She retired from public service in 1992 and volunteered in the kitchen at Casa Garden Restaurant for the Sacramento Children’s Home. In addition, she helped raise money for the Sierra 2 Senior Center in Sacramento.
Besides her daughter, Mrs. Macdonald is survived by a granddaughter. No public service is planned. Memorial donations may be made to WEAVE Inc. and to the Sacramento SPCA.
Call The Bee’s Robert D. Dávila, (916) 321-1077. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Davila.