Jane (Coulson) MacDonald, 94

Dec 5, 2023

MARION — Jane (Coulson) MacDonald, age 94, of Marion, passed away peacefully on Monday, November 20th. Born on September 3, 1929 in Newton, MA she was the daughter of William E. and Elizabeth (Barden) Coulson. She was the beloved granddaughter of Frederick B. and Jennie (Richards) Barden, who started Barden’s Boat Yard in 1927 and is now in its fourth generation.

Jane graduated from the Emma Willard School in Troy, NY and she went on to graduate from Colby Sawyer College in New London, NH. Upon graduating, she spent time traveling abroad but returned to her beloved Marion. She loved everything Marion was about, particularly the sailing community. Her zest for sailing was palpable. In 1952 she became a Jr Sailing Instructor at the Beverly Yacht Club. She would continue with private lessons into her 70’s. In 1959, Jane, as the skipper, and her crew captured the NE Women’s Sailing Championship and the Commodore Colt Cup in Marblehead, MA for the Beverly Yacht Club. Numerous awards would follow with each one being as fulfilling and exciting as the one before.

Her love for sailing was still so evident as she entered her later years. There was no place that brought her the kind of joy she found while out in the bay on her beloved 1954 wooden Herreshoff12, JB. Alone or with a crew she would always say it simply brought out the best of her. 

In 1966, Jane moved to Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA where she raised her children. By 1976, she had returned to Marion. She worked at Tabor Academy as the receptionist. She worked for David Titus and she ended her business career at Eames Insurance. By 1984, she had begun a new career in photography. She would spend countless hours in her basement darkroom developing photographs she had taken in Marion and surrounding areas. She photographed weddings, family gatherings, portraits and she always had her camera at the ready to capture the faces of her grandchildren. 

Once her sailing days were behind her, Jane never let the sea get too far away from her. She became an active member of the BYC Race Committee, both on and off the water. She worked tirelessly during the Buzzards Bay Regatta, the Marion to Bermuda Race, the Beverly Jr Regatta and hosted young sailors from all over. Those years would hold a particular spot in her heart with memories that never failed to make her laugh.

Towards the end of her life, she loved to spend time with her many friends, some for as long as 75yrs. She constantly was working in her yard, the yard her beloved father built. She went to the Post Office each day, at the same time, knowing she would see the same friends. Hamburgers and curly fries at the BYC were a must have and her morning walks around town were done without fail. For two decades, Jane and her daughter, Brooke,  drove to and from FL creating their own version of Driving Miss Daisy and creating memories for them for a lifetime. 

Jane was opinionated, feisty, stubborn with barely a filter. Those who knew her best were well aware of her stance on certain topics and that you were never going to win. She was also witty, fun, with a laugh that was infectious and a good friend. Her joy at the end of her life was simply being ‘Gigi’ and watching the next generations of her family grow and what wonderful people she knew they would become. 

On her final journey, there is no doubt she hoisted up the sails in her JB, tiller in hand and with a smile on her face, sailed peacefully over the beauty of the endless sea.

She is survived by her two daughters, seven grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. A Memorial Service will be held in her honor in July at St. Gabriel’s Church in Marion.

Arrangements by Chapman Funerals & Cremations – Wareham. To leave a message of condolence visit: www.chapmanfuneral.com