Cover photo for Sharon Dianne McDonald (nee Hirk)'s Obituary
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Sharon Dianne McDonald (nee Hirk)

October 16, 1943 — April 30, 2024

North Barrington, IL

Sharon (Shea) McDonald nee Hirk, 80, passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by her loving family, on April 30, 2024, following a short illness. Shea was fabulous, and even during her illness, her optimism, beauty, inside and out, and endless smile never waned.

She was born October 16, 1943 in Jacksonville, Florida where her father was stationed in the Navy. She grew up in LaGrange, Illinois and attended Lions Township High School. Friends and family remember her sense of adventure, love of travel, fashion, art, and boundless energy, enthusiasm, optimism, sense of humor, and infectious laugh which continued throughout her life. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison intending to teach. While at U of W, she studied both French and Spanish, learned to play the guitar, and attended the Rose Bowl Parade as a representative of her sorority. Following graduation, she combined her love of travel, fashion, and engaging personality, by joining United Airlines as a flight attendant. With her fabulous personality and infectious smile, she was quickly elevated to head the appearance department. Here, she made lifelong friends.

On one of her travels with her mother, she met Tom McDonald in Nausau, Bahamas. She married the love of her life in 1967 and settled down, initially in Evanston and then built a house and their life together in North Barrington, IL where they lived for 52 years. They had 56 wonderful years together. They welcomed four children, Cristin, Katie, Courtney, and Tom. She was incredibly proud of her children and grandchildren and their biggest cheerleader. Shea was a fun and loving spouse, mother and grandmother.

One of her biggest pleasures was passing along her love of art, music, fashion, and of course, travel. Throughout the years, with her family, friends and United, she had the opportunity to travel to Africa, Vietnam, Thailand, New Zealand, Europe, South America, Hawaii, Mexico and throughout the United States.

Shea also loved animals, from her makeshift vet and pet school as a kid to all the beloved dogs and grand dogs, birds, bunnies, iguanas, ducks, and fish welcomed into family members over the years. In 1993, Shea retired from United Airlines and started a second career as an interior decorator. Her artistic side, beautiful taste and optimism made for many beautiful homes from Lake Forest to Barrington, to LaGrange, Florida and Nantucket. She was an incredible artist, continuing to paint with her friends at the Main Street Art Center throughout the years and shared her artwork with many.

Her generous spirit touched many lives. She was always a friend to all, making the loneliest person in the room feel good, a great storyteller, and always laughing with her loud, infectious laugh.

Shea is survived by her devoted husband, Thomas McDonald, Cristin (John Duffy), Katie (Greg Flinn), Courtney (Darrin Logan), and Tom. (Maricel Patenio), sister Marlowe Hirk (Ira Fennessey) and adored grandchildren, Emily, Jack and Thomas Finn Duffy; Ella and Mason Flinn, and Jaden Logan. She is also survived by loving nieces and nephews and their children. She is predeceased by her parents William (Bud) and Nelda Hirk. We honor a life well-lived, a beautiful artist, an adventurous spirit, and her engaging, fun personality.

The visitation will be held Thursday, May 9, 2024 from 5:30 - 8:00 p.m. at Davenport Family Funeral Home and Crematory, 149 W. Main St., Barrington, Illinois with a Mass at St. Anne Catholic Community, 120 N. Ela St., (Corner of Ela and Franklin Sts.) Barrington, Illinois on Friday, May 10, 2024 10:30 a.m. The family requests those attending wear colorful attire for all events to honor her vibrant spirit.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to the Greater Chicago Food Depository online at or via mail at Greater Chicago Food Depository 4100 W. Ann Lurie Pl Chicago, IL 60632 or Misericordia online at or via mail at Misericordia Foundation Attn: Sister Rosemary Connelly 6300 North Ridge Avenue, Chicago, IL 60660.

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