Roderick Macdonald, Jr. ’47

Roderick Macdonald, Jr. '47Roderick Macdonald, Jr., M.D., of Columbia, South Carolina, passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family on Monday, November 24, 2014.

A Memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. Monday, December 1, 2014, at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral. The family will receive friends Sunday, November 30, 2014, from 3:00 until 5:00 p.m. at the Guignard Mansion, Still Hopes Episcopal Retirement Community. Dunbar Funeral Home, Devine Street Chapel is assisting the family.

Born on October 16, 1926, in Charleston, South Carolina, he was the son of Roderick Macdonald, M.D., and Jean Cunningham Macdonald. He spent his childhood in Charleston, Columbia, and Rock Hill. He graduated from Davidson College and the Medical University of South Carolina.

After graduating from medical school, he did his internship at Baltimore City Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and his residency at Tulane School of Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana. He served as Chief Resident in ophthalmology at Tulane, then spent a year as a Fellow specializing in corneal transplant surgery. Dr. Macdonald did a tour as a First Lieutenant in the United States Army Medical Corps at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

In 1951, he married Helen R. Codington of Wilmington, North Carolina. They moved to Louisville, Kentucky where he became an Assistant Professor and Chief of the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. He became a Diplomate of the American Board of Ophthalmology in 1957 and served as an Associate Examiner for that board from 1968-73. He served as Professor of Ophthalmology and Department Chairman from 1965-73. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Kentucky Lions’ Eye Research Institute. In 1973, Dr. Macdonald moved to Richmond, Virginia where he became the Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at the Medical College of Virginia.

In 1976, Dr. Macdonald accepted the position of Dean and Professor of Surgery (ophthalmology) at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine in Columbia. Under his leadership, the Medical School received its accreditation and graduated its Charter Class in 1981. He initiated the application for a chapter of Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. Approval was granted in December, 1982, and Dr. Macdonald became the first faculty member elected to the newly-established chapter in 1983.

Following his seven year tenure as dean, he returned to Richmond, Virginia to practice ophthalmology. In 1992, he and his wife retired to Columbia to be closer to their family. He was named Distinguished Professor Emeritus and Dean Emeritus of the School of Medicine in 2001. He was a member of Trinity Cathedral, where he was a lay reader and served as a docent. He was a past member of the American Ophthalmological Society, American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Medical Association, the Sons of the American Revolution, The Saint Andrews Society, Forest Lake Country Club, the Palmetto Club, the Quadrille, and the Rotary Club.

He loved traveling, reading, and history. He had a great sense of humor and loved a good joke. He was a wonderful husband and father and will be greatly missed. Dr. Macdonald was predeceased by his parents, his step-mother, Sara Benn Macdonald of Rock Hill, South Carolina, and his step-sister, Mary Thompson of Monroe, North Carolina.

He is survived by his beloved wife, Helen; step-sisters, Martha Benn Macdonald of Rock Hill, South Carolina and Margaret Rose Macdonald of Virginia Beach, Virginia; his son, Roderick Macdonald, III (Jennifer) of Springfield, Virginia; his daughters, Anne Sumwalt (Robert L., III), Alexandra Hazelton (James B.), Elizabeth Beal (Frank S., Jr.), all of Columbia, Margaret Fant (James W., Jr., M.D.) of Saint Matthews, South Carolina; and his nine grandchildren, Hunter Macdonald, Mackenzie Sumwalt, Collins Hazelton, Frank and Callie Beal, Claiborne, James, Roderick, and William Fant.

In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests that memorials be made to Still Hopes Residents’ Assistance Fund, Pets, Inc., or a charity of one’s choice. The family would like to express their gratitude to the staff at Still Hopes Episcopal Home for their years of caring for Dr. Macdonald. Please sign the online guestbook at



Published in The Herald on Nov. 30, 2014