A RESPECTED Territorial Army Major has died aged 83.
Major Keith Malcolm McDonald was closely involved with the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment for more than 50 years.
He was commissioned as an officer in the regular Army while on national service from 1946 to 1948, then joined the Dukes’ Territorial Army 7th Battalion in Huddersfield in 1955.
Major McDonald served with various companies and through several reorganisations until 1972.
He also sat on the regimental council, and was a trustee of the regimental association.
In 2005, he was awarded a tercentenary bronze statuette by the Yorkshire Regiment, as the Dukes became known, in recognition of his 56 years’ service.
The regiment said at the time: “As a trustee and a council member he has unfailingly given whatever has been asked of his time and support and been a most valuable asset in promoting and safeguarding the regiment’s interests in our home county.”
Major McDonald was born and brought up in Halifax, attending Holy Trinity Primary School and then Heath Grammar School.
He maintained a long association with the Grammar School, and was chairman of its governors between 1974 and 1982.
He read philosophy, politics and economics at the University of Durham, which the keen sportsman represented at rugby and cricket.
Major McDonald also played for Halifax RUFC between 1951 and 1956 and represented Yorkshire in 1955.
He captained Halifax RUFC in his last year playing for the club and was its president from 1986 to 1988.
Major McDonald’s professional life was in the textile industry.
He was the managing director of Ollerenshaw Textiles Ltd until it closed when the owner died, and he set up on his own.
He was an active member of the Halifax Conservative Association for many years, and a trustee. He became vice-chairman in 1990.
Paying tribute to him, councillor John Hardy said: “He was a gentleman to the end with many facets to his life, a good man and very loyal.”
Major McDonald became a Deputy Lieutenant of West Yorkshire in 1994, and also served as a Calderdale magistrate.
He was chairman of the Percival Whitley Educational Trust in 1997, and was involved with the former West Central Halifax Partnership and the Himmat project.
He was a member and past president of the Loyal Georgian Society and was also involved with the Queen’s Sports Club, Halifax; the Army and Navy Club, London; and Halifax Rotary Club.
Major McDonald, of Lee Lane in Shibden, Halifax, is survived by his wife Christine, 78, who he married in 1959.
He also leaves two daughters: Caroline, 48, and Suzanne, 46; and three grandchildren: Charlotte, 17, Christopher, 15, and Edith, seven.
He passed away at Calderdale Royal Hospital on February 20 after a short illness.
His funeral will be held at Halifax Minster, where he was a regular churchgoer, on Friday.