Memorial Minute for Donald Alexander (Don) McPhail – May 2018
Don died at the age of 92 in Matamata Country Lodge, which was originally the Matamata Maternity Home where Don was born in July 1925.
Don grew up in the Hinuera district near Matamata. St Andrews Matamata was his place of Christian instruction, attending Sunday School and youth groups. He took over the family farm at a young age and contracted Leptospirosis, which curtailed his active farm work. He shifted to Hamilton and worshiped initially at Knox before moving to Auckland and operating a dairy in Sandringham. He later purchased a run-down dairy farm at Whitikahu and returned to the Waikato. The farm was sold and another farm on Piako Road was purchased where Margaret developed a magnificent garden that was enjoyed by many of St Andrews’ members. Don became part of the Gordonton Church and represented the Parish on Presbytery, serving as moderator for a term.
In the early 1990s, Don and Margaret returned to St Andrews in Hamilton to worship, where they remained as faithful members until Don retired to Matamata in 2013. He visited St Andrews on several occasions as the church and the people had many special connections. Don & Margaret were married in St Andrews in 1949; Margaret died in 2008 while they were in Hilda Ross and the funeral service was held at St Andrews – it remained a special place for the McPhails.
Don was very active in the Gideons Society distributing Bibles to hotels, motels, prisons and others who did not have access to Bibles, both in NZ and around the world. He was generous with his time, his money and support of the Gideons.
Don and Margaret established Scotsdale Tours and took many tours around New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific. Many members of St Andrews and other Christian churches in the region accompanied Don and Margaret on the tours.
Don was a good man, a devout Christian and a man of integrity, supporting his community and encouraging everyone he came in contact with to get to know Jesus Christ. He is survived by two daughters and a son – Pauline, Bruce and Wendy.