TAMPA — Ann McDonald had a lifelong enthusiasm for history, preservation and the arts. In recent years, she turned that passion and attention to her beloved Seminole Heights, where she owned a home with a sister.
McDonald died last week from a sudden illness. She was 74.
She was a board member of the Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association and chair of its historic preservation committee. She also was involved with the Seminole Heights Tour of Homes and an early supporter of building a new Seminole Heights Branch Library, which recently opened. She had been backing an attempt to preserve the Capt. William Parker Jackson House, which dates to the 1870s.
“We’ve lost a board member and a board chair of the preservation committee,” said her longtime friend Bill Hunter, secretary of the Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association. “And a valued friend. She leaves a significant gap.”
McDonald was the oldest of five siblings. She grew up in Orlando and moved to Tampa in the 1960s, said her sister, Elizabeth Doxey, of Carrollwood.
She then moved to Jacksonville, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in art history from the University of North Florida. She later moved to New York City, then came back to Tampa in 2001, Doxey said.
She worked as a paralegal after earning a certificate through Rollins College. She retired in 2007 and quickly immersed herself in Seminole Heights and its history and preservation work, Doxey said.
She got involved with citywide projects, including the Tampa Bay History Center and Green ARTery, a plan to create biking and walking paths through a number of communities, including Seminole Heights and Tampa Heights, Doxey said.
“A lot of people are going to miss her,” Doxey said. “She had a store of information about Tampa, the community and its structures.”
She is survived by her son, Michael McDonald, of Austin, Texas; two grandchildren; her sisters, Elizabeth Doxey and Margaret McNamee, both of Carrollwood, and Martha McNamee, of Tampa; and a brother, William McNamee, of Tampa.
A funeral mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Saturday at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 509 N. Florida Ave., Tampa.
Following the funeral mass, a reception will be held at Seminole Heights Branch Library, 4711 North Central Ave., Tampa.