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June 28, 2004
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Dr. Steve McDonald Silver Taps
We mourn the loss of one of our own:

Dr. Steven McDonald, D.O.
Former Chief, Texas A&M University Emergency Medical Services


98muster.jpg (17249 bytes)Steve Ellerbe reads "Roll Call for the Absent"

Well, Dustbowl 1998 is dust now.  The unofficial count was 52 people between the old Ags and their families.  The memorial for Steve McDonald was a stirring experience.  As one of the former Chiefs, I (Mike) can assure you it was one of the hardest thing I've ever done; I feel certain I can speak for Dave as well.  Dave Phillips gave a brief biography of Steve, and then recollections and memories were discussed by several people, including Dave, me, Bonnie, Lesley, Jeff, Allen, and Matt.
The words "Please stand at attention for Roll Call" barely came out of my mouth.   I read the name: "Dr. Steven C. McDonald, Class of 1987"...what was only a second seemed like an hour of silence.  Then the thundering reply of the entire crowd..."HERE".  Silver Taps played...the first volley was incredibly painful, as I felt everything we lost.  But then the second volley of Silver Taps followed, and then the third, and it felt different...a peace settled upon us that cannot be taken away -- the peace of knowing that he really was "HERE", in all of our hearts.

"Softly call the Muster,
Let comrade answer, 'Here!'
Their spirits hover 'round us
As if to bring us cheer!


Taken From the Texas Aggie, March 1998, Vol. 79, No. 2
"Silver Taps" section

Steven C. McDonald ’87

Steven C. McDonald, 32, of Temple (formerly of Deer Park) was murdered in his home October 10. He was a graduate of Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine as was chief resident of emergency medicine at Scott & White Memorial Hospital. He was medical director of Bruceville-Eddy City EMS and was the Bruceville-Eddy athletic team physician. Survivors include his parents, Val and Susie McDonald of Deer Park; a brother, Sherwin Valton McDonald, ’91; a sister; and his fiancée.

This page is dedicated to
the fond memory of:

Steven C. McDonald, D.O.

His Life Was Senselessly Taken 10 October 1997

"Don't forget Steve..."

December 3, 1964 - October 10, 1997

A Friend, A Colleague, A Doctor,


Dr. Steve McDonald

Text/graphics box above respectfully gleaned from Scott & White Medevac Page

1998 Muster Ceremony
Articles on Memorial Service in Temple, TX paper

Memorial to be printed in Emergency Magazine

Field Reports from the Memorial Services

"Remember them not for how they died...remember them for how they lived"

Texts of front page story run in
Temple Daily Telegram Friday, October 17, 1997.

Friends, family mourn slain doctor

Newspaper Photo of Memorial Service in Temple, TX
(note two TAMUEMS portraits)

There were tears and laughter Thursday as more than 200 friends, coworkers, and family members gathered at St. Luke’s Catholic Church to remember Dr. Steven McDonald.

McDonald, 32, of Temple, was shot to death the morning of Friday, October 10, as he pulled into his garage after his shift at the Scott & White Memorial hospital emergency room, where he was a resident.

Jayston Kuberski, 22, of Temple, the suspected killer, was found dead, apparently of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, later that day in a sport utility vehicle in the parking lot of a Belton convenience store.

"What an irony that a man who committed a life to caring for others … had no one to turn to in the end of his," Dr. Morgen Rozenboom, a third year resident at Scott and White, read from a letter she had written to McDonald after his death.

"I will see you again someday, my friend," she said.

The memorial service was an opportunity to "take time to reflect, pray and remember," McDonald’s death, and more importantly his life, the Rev. Louis Pavlicek told the mourners.

The mourners shed tears for a friend lost in an "incomprehensible tragedy," as one called it, but there was also laughter as co-workers and friends shared stories of what they remembered most about McDonald.

"Friendship lost…that is what makes this loss so hard," said Dr. Jeff Goodloe.

Goodloe represented the 19,000 members of the American College of Emergency Physicians and read from an ACEP resolution honoring McDonald "who devoted his professional career to emergency medicine…and was a highly respected leader."

"He represented emergency physicians and physicians in training with the utmost integrity and passion," Goodloe said. "Be it known that ACEP acknowledges and honors the passion and professional achievements of Steven McDonald, DO.

Others who shared fond memories of the slain doctor included Joyce Gibson, his fifth-grade teacher at Deer Park, and medical colleagues who remembered McDonald as a man dedicated to making lives better.

"He was the most giving, self-sacrificing individual, he was also one of our dearest friends," a fellow resident said at the service. "His wholehearted dedication to his career was a rare gift, and one he didn’t take lightly. His compassion, spirit and selfless devotion will live on in our hearts forever."

Dr. Bill Bass, a co-worker, urged the mourners to let McDonald’s memory live on in their lives and their work.

"Don’t forget Steve McDonald," he said, "seek to emulate his courage, compassion, energy and concern for his fellow man."

Several family members attended the memorial service-including his mother, father, brother, and aunt, an uncle and several cousins. Also attending were McDonald’s girlfriend and her mother.

"Thank you all for coming," Susie McDonald, his mother, said. "We all cared for him."

Scott and White chaplain Judy Hoelscher told mourners to draw strength from Luke 24:13-24 – a passage about Jesus’ followers after the crucifixion.

"Like Jesus, Steven died in tragedy and violence," she said. "We too are experiencing a feeble betrayal of life … the very depths of our souls have been shaken.

"We had hopes, spoken and unspoken, for Steve McDonald. We hoped to be able to celebrate with him at the end of his residency…"

In parting, Ms. Hoelscher asked the mourners to remember three things as they grieve for their friend: to allow God to surround them with love, compassion and mercy as he heals them; to "learn to be gentle with ourselves and others;" and finally to celebrate Steven’s life.

"He has given us so many gifts," she said.

Announcement of (Temple, TX) Memorial Service

Services for Dr. Steven C. McDonald, 32, of Temple were at 9 a.m. Tuesday at Grand View Funeral Home Chapel in Pasadena and at 2:30 p.m. at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Blessing. Burial was at St. Peter’s Catholic Cemetery. Dr. McDonald died Friday at his home.

He was a former resident of Deer Park and a graduate of Deer Park High School, Texas A&M University and Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine. He was chief resident of emergency medicine at Scott & White Memorial Hospital and served on the EMS Committee, American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), EMS Committee, Texas College of Emergency Physicians (TCEP), Emergency Medicine Resident’s Association (EMRA) Council Representative; Texas A&M University EMS Program; ACEP EMS Committee (1996-1997); ACEP Work Force Study Task Committee; and was a counselor on the ACEP council (1996-1997). He also served as a resident advisor, Emergency Medical Student Association, TAMU-COM; Speaker of the Representative Council, EMRA (1995-1996), Administrative and Bylaws Committee Chairperson, EMRA (1994-1995); and on the Board of Directors, EMRA/Medical Student Affiliate (1993-1994). He held memberships in the ACEP, ACEP, EMRA, SAEM, TCEP, AMA, AOA, KCOM Emergency Medicine Club (charter president and founder). He was also the president-elect/treasurer of the EMRA Board of Directors (1996-1997). He also served as medical director of Bruceville-Eddy City EMS and was the Bruceville-Eddy athletic team physician.

Survivors are his parents, Val and Susie McDonald of Deer Park; a sister, Sherry Taylor, of Pasadena; and a brother, Sherwin McDonald, of Fairfield, California.

Memorials may be made to EMRA, 1125 Executive Circle, Irving, Texas 75038 or to the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, 800 West Jefferson, Kirksville, Missouri, 63501.

Memorial to be run in Open Airways section of Emergency Magazine.

Dr. Steven McDonald, DO was shot and killed in the early morning of Friday, October 10, 1997 by a deranged stalker who later killed himself. This incident marks the untimely end of a very promising career and the life of a wonderful man.

Dr. McDonald received his undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University where he was active as a paramedic with Texas A&M EMS. He served as EMS Chief from 1987 to 1989. After graduation, he worked as a paramedic/firefighter for the city of Deer Park, Texas. Dr. McDonald completed medical school at the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kirksville, Missouri and was in the third year of his residency in Emergency Medicine at Scott & White Hospital in Temple, Texas.

Dr. McDonald had a strong and active interest in EMS. He served as medical director for Bruceville/Eddy EMS, wrote articles for Emergency, instructed at the Scott & White EMS Education program and was a frequent ACLS instructor. He was also active with the Emergency Medicine Residence Association, an organization of which he was recently elected president. Dr. McDonald was to have been inducted into that office the week after his death at their annual conference in San Francisco.

The EMS community has lost a friend and respected colleague. Dr. McDonald will be greatly missed.

Field Reports from the Memorial Services

Editor's Note: I considered substantive editing to these letters for clarity, political correctness, forgetting people's names, demonstrated emotion, and the like. However, I decided against it. We are who we are, and we feel how we feel. That's what makes us family...

From the funeral:

I was the "primary" for the funeral service in Deer Park. The ceremony itself was very nice. *Large* crowd (no kidding...standing room only). Several Fire/EMS people from Steve's other EMS jobs (Deer Park FD, Temple-area services).

TAMU EMS alumni provided a very large flower arrangement. It turned out beautifully; maroon was the main color! Steve's Mom actually commented on it spontaneously. (Ed. Note: Dave did a great job with the flowers, with about 20 of us chipping in...)

There were a total of 10 of us there. The group included:

Tim Hilt
David and Lisa Phillips
Tracy (used to be Anderson)
Janeane McSwain
Matt and Joan Menger
Bonny (used to be Scott)
Jeff Jarvis
Tim Martin
(another girl, whose name I can't remember)
Dr. Tyler (from the Health Center....she was the EMS Medical Director from 1986 - 1989, and a *very* close friend of Steve's).

We had an opportunity to talk with Steve's parents immediately after the ceremony. They sought us out. They were genuinely very pleased and flattered by our attendance. Steve's Mom recognized & remembered me, Jeff,
and (of course) Bonny. We got to tell her that she was looking at 3 of the original 6 "full-time" paramedics for TAMU EMS, which was me, Jeff, Tim, Steve, and Dudley and Brad. Steve was our boss when we got that program truly off the ground....something he (and his parents) should have been very proud of. We had an opportunity to tell them in person that we were going to setup a fund/scholarship @ TAMU in Steve's memory, for future struggling paramedic/students. They sincerely, deeply, appreciated that.

Steve's Mom was doing much better than his Dad. Especially when we talked about Steve being our boss for the full-time paramedic program (which they remembered), and when we told them about the McDonald scholarship idea......Dad cried openly. Made me lose it too. I was hanging in there until then, but had to leave for a while after that.

We all went to IHOP afterwards, and camped at a table for about 2 - 3 hours. Really irritated the staff. Had a *wonderful* time remembering Steve, and in re-bonding ourselves. We all agreed that in this terrible tragedy, Steve had ended up accomplishing a wonderful thing....he reminded us of our family and our bond together, and reminded us not to *never* take that for granted.

Now, it's time to get down to serious business regarding the scholarship fund. Mike, we need your leadership here. I believe that we need to "strike while the iron is hot" so to speak, in that many of the alumni are ready to "pony up" in Steve's memory. What do we do now?

David Phillips '85

From the (Temple, TX) memorial service:

I attended services in Pasadena and Temple. Even though there were the same pictures of Steve at both services, there was a huge difference. The Pasadena service was very formal and done by a preacher who didn't appear to know Steve. It's major redeeming value was the fact that most of the Ags who were able to attend made it there.

The service in Temple was much more personable. The priest spoke briefly and then turned the service over to those who knew Steve. About 5 or 6 friends and colleagues stood to tell stories of how they remember Steve. The immediate past president of EMRA (the man that Steve was to replace this week) read a proclamation passed in Steve's honor by ACEP. This was, in my humble opinion, a much better way to remember him.

We still don't know all the details of his murder and probably never will. I can only say that the impact Steve had on us Ags was repeated in each area of his life. He will be fondly remebered and missed by a great number of people.

Take care,
Jeff Jarvis, '87?

© 2004
Last edited: Monday, June 28, 2004