January 1941: End of Military Life – using his skills here on the homefront…

At the beginning of 1941 Keith was working at Boeing.  He received a form letter in the mail dated 4 January, 1941 titled Headquarters of the Ninth Corps Area out of San Francisco.

Keith in Seattle

Keith in Seattle

It stated in Item #2


Section 3b. If you desire discharge on the grounds that you are a necessary individual in an industry or occupation essential to the National Defense, you should immediately request your employer to furnish you with a statement in writing showing the nature of the work performed by you, and its connection with National Defense, and you should then forward the state with the enclosed form requesting your discharge from the Regular Army Reserve to this headquarters. 

As a result he moved quickly and was able to get an Honorable Discharge on the basis that his employment was essential to the National Defense.

On the backside of his Honorable Discharge it reads: Reservist served in an inactive status during this enlistment. Under Prior service there is a mention of “Character Excellent” in several places. Capt. Gwyn P. Rees signed his form on 24 January 1941.

On January 24, 1941 Keith was Honorably Discharged from the Regular Army Reserve.

On January 24, 1941 Keith was Honorably Discharged from the Regular Army Reserve.

Keith was now a civilian. This Honorable Discharge was the end of his military career. Although he had been inactive since 1939.

Several Events would take place in the next months:

1) He would leave Boeing and go the U.S. Naval Air Station at Sandpoint on the shores of Lake Washington in Seattle.

2) He would get an offer of a job from Pan Am.

3) He would get married in on July 4, 1941.

4) The United States would declare war on Japan after Japan bombs Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and then war on Germany would follow.

Keith was 31 (if says he was 41?) when he was Honorably Discharged so he was of the right age to serve in military actions. His heart was with the airplanes so I think he made the right choice.

His military career was now over.  He was a civilian, but he would work with airplanes and other aircraft for the rest of his life.

Posted in Honorable Discharge from the Regular Army Reserve, Keith B. MacDonald, Keith B. MacDonald's Military Service, King County, Seattle, Washington State | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Seeking Work at the Puget Sound Navy Yard – Bremerton…1940

Keith must have been checking around for potential work in 1940 because he received a letter from the Labor Board of the Puget Sound Navy Yard in Bremerton, Washington on 29 August, 1940. They wrote back that they had no knowledge of jobs in various naval yards? He was learning to negotiate the military and Civil Service not an easy task.

Frankly I am glad he did not go to work in Bremerton, I would have ended up living in the middle of Puget Sound and having to arrange my life around ferry boats that went back and forth to Seattle.  Back then Bremerton was small but it is now much bigger and more sophisticated.  http://www.visitkitsap.com/bremerton

Puget Sound Navy Yard letter 1941.

Puget Sound Navy Yard letter 1940.

History Link has a great article about the Puget Sound Naval Shipyards and a little about Bremerton’s beginnings. There are photos as well.


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Working for Boeing 1938 to April of 1941

According to Keith’s employment records he states that he was working at Boeing from 1938 to April of 1941.  The address for Boeing at that time was 200 West Michigan in Seattle as written on the documents. We know that he was in Seattle in 1940 per the census and working but it was a time of transition for him and the world.


Articles from Newspaper

Articles from Newspaper

He writes about his duties at Boeing:

Wing assembly, panel Assembly, unit leader, supercharger, instruments, pre-flight, inspection, engine and motor mount assembly, sub-assembly, and engine test. He made $1669 a year which comes to about $139 per month.

On another employment application he writes about his Boeing experience a little differently:

Mfg of B-17B to D. Production Worker C1.B, Sheet metal assembly, wing shop, wing tank door, nacelles, leading edge, wing tips, bomb doors, supercharger, installation, pre-flight dept, power plant buildup, installation, prop installation, first engine run up and tuning, troubleshooting, engine part replacement, hot job artisson urgent items, such as ships due for delivery at preflight (E.G. Gen-starter, pump and mag. replacement on R-1820S.)

The reason for his leaving is to accept Civil Service appointment.  His supervisor was Boyd Call.

Keith outside in front of a building.

Keith outside in front of a building.

If you put B-17B into Google you will come up with Flying Fortress and a lot of hits. It was the big plane that was used in WWII.  Below is an article with photos from the January, 1940 local newspaper showing how this plane was made and it looks like my Dad was there.  This article was among his possessions.


Flying Fortress production article

Flying Fortress production article

Wings take form

Wings take form

Built in Four days

Built in Four days

Making a plane in four days

Making a plane in four days


Last Lap

Last Lap

The use of the term “Civil Service” is sort of old now but apparently it is still used. I would describe my service with the State of Washington as my state service.  While those working for the U.S. Government as Federal service.

You have to be a very persistent and detailed person to work in either State or Federal jobs. You also have to embrace the rules because it is all about rules if you go to work in these positions.

Posted in Boeing Flying Fortress 1940, Keith B. MacDonald, King County, Seattle, Washington State | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The rest of the McDonald’s in 1940…

Keith was not the only one of the McDonalds who migrated to Seattle.  His sister Eddie was living there and she had also married.  Remember Keith spelled our last name MacDonald.

According to the 1940 census Eddie is living in Seattle, King Co., Washington. She is under her married name and working as a nurse.  I have featured Eddie’s nursing school experience on this blog in past posts under Eddie’s Collection of Junk.

Eddie with Les at a Family picnic

Eddie with Les at a Family picnic

Source:  Family of Lester W. Klinefelter, 1940 U.S. Federal Census, Seattle, King Co., Washington, Block No. 11 and 12, SD#1, ED #40-81, Sht No. 5B, Harold Aarvold, Enumerator, April 8, 1940. 

11th NE, Line 48, #4519, 143, R, 30, No., Klinefelter, Lester W., Head, O, M, W, 46, M, No. H-3 M, North Dakota, 67, same place, No, XoXo, no, no, yes, 4 salesman, new and used cars, pw, 298, 69, 1, 52, 960, No. Klinefelter, Edna L., Wife, 1, F , W, 33, M, No. C-2, 50, Minnesota, 64, same place, No, XOXO, No, No, No, yes, 4, trained nurse, hospital, OB, 1/36, 92, 1, 20,m 0, yes.

Keith’s other sisters: Jean, Vivian and Miriam are scattered about Washington and Idaho.

Sister Jean is living in Idaho and had married to Roscoe Davis.

Roscoe and Jean doing sometime they loved, camping...

Roscoe and Jean doing sometime they loved, camping…

Source:  Roseve (Roscoe) R. Davis Family, Soldier’s Home, Ada Co., Idaho, SD#4, ED # 1-46, April 25, 1940, Sht # 16A, [Elinor M. Rossa].

Riverside Lane, line 17, 348, 0, 1800, No, Davis, Roscoe, R., Head, O, M, W, 42, M, No., C-1, 40, Idaho, 89, Greeley, Colorado, 9125, yes —-, 1, delivery man, wholesale beverages, Rw, 432, 60, 1, 52, 1850, No. Davis, Jean, wife, 1, F, W, 31, M, No., C-3, 60, Minnesota, 64, Greeley, Colorado, 9125, No. no, no, no, H, 5, 0 0 , no. Davis, Cathryn, daughter, 2, F, W, 11, S, yes, 4, 4, Minnesota, 64, Greeley, Colorado, 9125. Gillespie, Hugh, Roomer, 6, M, W, 44, S, No, 8, 8, Minnesota, 64, Boise, Idaho, XoV5, No, no, yes — 3, Hoist Engineer, Logging

Keith’s older sister Vivian is living in Greenacres, Spokane Valley, she had married to Hilary McKanna in 1924.  The wedding celebration was featured on this blog.

Hilary and Vivian on a beach about 1942

Hilary and Vivian on a beach about 1942

Source: Family of Hilary McKanna, 1940 U.S. Federal Census, Greenacres Twp., Spokane Co., Washington, SD#5, ED # 32-22A, Sht No. 4-A, April 9, 1940, John J. Murray, Enumerator.

Line 2, 68, ), 2500, No., McKanna, Hilary, head, O, M, W, 47, M, No., H-3, 20, Alaska, X1, Same home, no, yes, 1, 48, yard clerk, Railroad, 266, 47, 1, 27, 865, yes. McKanna, Vivian, wife, 1, F, W, 37, M, No, C-3, 60, Minnesota, 64, same home, no, yes, 1, 36, secretary, teacher’s agency, P.W. , 236, 83, 1, 26, 375, No.

Miriam is in Yakima with father Ronald and aunt Nellie who are aging. About 1935 Miriam graduated with a BA degree and had found a teaching job in Yakima.  Ronald and Nellie where still living in Spokane in 1937. After that, they packed up and followed Miriam to Yakima.

In the Rain at a Mc/MacDonald Reunion

Miriam in the rain at a Mc/MacDonald Reunion

This would be Ronald, Nellie and Miriam’s final migration, they would remain in Yakima for the rest of their lives.

Nellie and Ronald listening to the radio...

Nellie and Ronald listening to the radio…

Source:  Ronald S. McDonald Family, 1940 U.S. Federal Census, Yakima, Yakima Co., SD# 4, ED 39-24, Sht N. 3A, April 5, 1940, Neva H. Richardson. 

East Spruce Street, line 30, 714, 54, R, 25, No., McDonald, Ronald, S. Head, O, M, W, 73, Widow, No, 8, 8, Canada, 35, NA, Spokane, Spokane, WA, No., 4797, No, no, no, no, U, 7, ——0, 0, no. McDonald, (Nellie) Ellen, sister, 5, F, W, 69, S, No, 8, 8, Canada, 35, Al, Spokane, Spokane, WA, No, 4797, No, No, No, no, 5 —–0, 0, no. McDonald, Miriam, daughter, 2 F, W, 34, S, No, C4, 70, Minnesota, 64, [Idefimer], Morrow, Oregon, No, 9721, yes, —-, 1, 40, Public School teacher, City school, V34, U1?, 2, 41, 1550, No.

Note:  Morrow County, Oregon is over to the northeastern part of Oregon almost below the Tri-cities which are Richland, Kennewick and Pasco in Washington State. Umatilla is on the east in another county of Oregon.  I think the town might be Irrigon, based on my searches, this is where Miriam had been living and teaching.


Brother Gordon cannot be found in the 1940 Census.  He was single, which makes it hard to track him.  I propose that he was in Minnesota.  This is because he visited with his grandmother Amarilla in Pine River, Minnesota on several occasions.  One visit was after she had a stroke in April of 1939. He was also there in July of 1939 and she was still ill. I will share more about these events in a future post. Gordon eventually headed for Seattle, Washington and settled there permanently. He was definitely there by 1952 when he got married to Lois Kelly.

Gordon and his car

Gordon and his car

So this is where most of the family ended up in Washington.  Vivian would stay in Greenacres near Spokane.  Miriam, Ronald and Nellie would live in Yakima.  Keith (north Seattle) and Eddie (West Seattle) would stay in Seattle being joined by Gordon (east Queen Anne) and they would remain there. Jean would move to Selah, north of Yakima, from Idaho with her family about 1942 and remain there the rest of their lives.

Now remember this is the early 1940’s.  There was no internet, email, texting or cell phones. You used a rotary phone maybe or you wrote letters to each other. How did they get together?  They started to gather at Mount Rainier for a picnic and a visit.  These events would become known as the McDonald Misery picnics because it would usually rain, not always but it would, note the photo of Miriam above.  Now that was not all the places we would gather. Miriam’s home in Yakima had a great porch in back. Jean’s house in Selah was usually a big event location and a lot of family pictures were taken  on the side of the that house. Vivian’s home in Greenacres (Spokane) was a sort of mini farm and I remember kittens in the kitchen.  Where we gathered sort of depended on what the family decided to do and who was traveling and or camping in what area of the state – i.e. Olympic Peninsula, Mt. Baker, Mt. Hood, Mt. Saint Helen’s before she blew up, with Mt. Rainier being the in between place.

In the photo below starting on the left is my mother Marjorie, Eddie is holding a baby, Gordon is working on something on the table. Ronald (grandpa) with the hat is keeping watch. Miriam standing next to him on the right and Nellie looking down at Gordon’s work.  Keith is probably taking the photo.  I place this photo at about 1942 because of the baby.  By the way the McDonald’s were expert picnic packers.  It was an art.

McD's gathered at Mt. Rainier, probably a very typical scene for our reunions

McD’s gathered at Mt. Rainier, probably a very typical scene for our reunions

So now you know how I ended up being born in Seattle. The baby in the photo above is an older sibling of mine.  I would appear in the late 1940’s.

To refresh your memory, the above individuals are descendants of Archibald and Mary McDonell of Chichester, Pontiac County, Quebec.  They had Angus, Ronald, John, Nellie and Alexander.  The individuals above are the children of Ronald S. McDonald who married Grace A. Barclay in 1898. She died in 1911.  Nellie is Ronald’s sister. All these individuals have been featured on this past posts on this blog in more detail.

Posted in ARCHIE & MARY MCDONELL's FAMILY, Davis surname, Eddie L. McDonald & her Collection of Junk, Gordon McDonald, GRACE & RONALD MCDONALD, Hilary M. McKanna, Idaho, Jean McDonald Davis, Keith B. MacDonald, King County, Klinefelter surname, Marjorie F. Boardman, MCDONALD/MACDONALD etc., Minnesota, Miriam McDonald, Nellie McDonald (Ellen Elizabeth), Pine River, Seattle, Selah, Spokane County, Vivian McDonald McKanna, Washington State, West Seattle, Yakima | Tagged | Leave a comment