Malcolm E. Macdonald of Falmouth, a chiropractor who early in his career was the sole practitioner of the profession on Cape Cod for many years, died November 20. He was 91.
He was the husband of 71 years of Patricia Ruth (Leonard) Macdonald. The couple were high school sweethearts and graduated in 1949 from Lawrence High School.
Born in Holyoke, he was the son of Malcolm S. and Yvonne (Thibodeau) Macdonald.
He was a graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, in 1952, and the University of Massachusetts.
Dr. Macdonald opened his first office over his father’s restaurant on Main Street in Falmouth, then moved it into his home on Prospect Street. At the time, Massachusetts was one of three states not yet licensed for chiropractic. He was the only chiropractor serving the Cape and islands for 15 years. As his practice grew, he moved to the second floor of the Eastman building on Main Street and, later, to 169 Gifford Street.
In 1964 he was elected president of the Massachusetts Chiropractic Society and in that position for the next three years proceeded to organize his colleagues to license their profession, after previous attempts had failed. The task was especially challenging due to fierce political resistance from the Massachusetts Medical Society, but after much effort and public support and against all odds, licensing legislation was signed by then-Governor John A. Volpe in 1966.
As the bill was proceeding through the Legislature, Dr. Macdonald testified before the Public Health Committee in support of its passage, revealing officially that he was practicing as a chiropractor in Falmouth. Using that information, the Massachusetts Medical Society filed a complaint against him and he was arrested. With chiropractic already licensed in 47 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and a current bill being acted upon in the Legislature here in the commonwealth, he went to trial in Barnstable Superior Court before Judge Henry L. Murphy on January 6, 1966. Due to a significant oversight by the prosecution and a very sympathetic judge, Dr. Macdonald was found innocent.
He was a member of the Massachusetts Board of Chiropractic Examiners for 20 years under four governors and chairman for the first 15. For his efforts in spearheading the licensing drive, Dr. Macdonald was voted president emeritus of the Massachusetts Chiropractic Society and received numerous other honors from the society as well as from the American Chiropractic Association for his dedication to the advancement of the profession.
Dr. Macdonald initiated establishment of the six-state New England Chiropractic Council and was its executive director from 1966 to 1974 and was editor and publisher of the New England Journal of Chiropractic from 1970 to 1975.
He served as the Massachusetts delegate to the National Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards and as delegate to the American Chiropractic Association from St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, where he had a home; Dr. Macdonald was instrumental in licensing chiropractic in the three-island territory in 1979. He established the first chiropractic offices on Nantucket and also on St. Thomas.
He oversaw the repair of his home on St. Thomas after damage by Hurricane Hugo in 1989.
He also was the owner and developer of a manufactured home and campground facility on Johns Pond in Mashpee.
Dr. Macdonald’s accomplishments were achieved with the help and support of his wife.
The couple hosted 27 members of the Lawrence High School Class of 1949 for their 55th reunion with a buffet dinner at their Gifford Street home, as reported in the Enterprise in 2004. The reunion, the seventh for the group, featured an interview session with each classmate, chronicling the events of their lives.
Active in the community, he was a former Town Meeting member and belonged to the Falmouth Rod & Gun Club. He was a past president of the Young Democrats Club, and also served as vice chairman of the Falmouth Democratic Town Committee.
In addition to his wife, he leaves three sons, David Macdonald and his wife, Linda Macdonald, Dale Macdonald and his wife, Cheryl Macdonald, and Denis Macdonald; two daughters, Debra Sadoff and Diane Macdonald; his grandchildren, Scott Macdonald, Megan Lang, Kelsey Sadoff, Kerri Sadoff, Emily Schmit, David R. Macdonald, Jessica Lawrence and Josh Burgess; and eight great-grandchildren.
Dr. Macdonald was preceded in death by his sisters, Lois Green and Claire Powell; and by a granddaughter, Kelly Coppenrath.
Funeral service was to be private, with a celebration of his life planned for a later date.