Alumni News

Oklahoma Alpha Remembers Leon “T-Bone” McDonald ’48

Leon “T-Bone” J. McDonald Jr. ’48 entered Chapter Eternal on November 16, 2014, at Norman Veterans Center in Norman, Oklahoma. T‑Bone was a graduate of Muskogee Central High School and was a center on the Muskogee Roughers—the 1940 state football champions. He served OK Alpha as historian while an undergraduate, district governor, and president of the chapter alumni board after graduation. T‑Bone was preceded in death by his wife, Fern Petree McDonald, on October 17, 1989. Fern and T‑Bone were both OSU graduates and avid OSU fans. They never missed an OSU athletic event at Stillwater or on the road. T‑Bone was an ardent reader, world traveler, world‑class bridge player, and genealogist. He is survived by his five children: Glen (Eloise), Carrie, Michael (Monnett), David (Lucretia), and Zoe; grandchildren Carrissa, Elisa, Patrick, Nathan Jr., Ian, Qynton, Ryan, Brian, Reama; and many other great‑grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.
T-Bone was a vital part of Oklahoma Alpha. His influence spanned decades, and he was the true embodiment of a SigEp. While he is no longer with us, our memories will keep him alive at SigEp forever. Here are some of the ways our brothers will remember him.
“What I will always remember first about T-Bone is his positive attitude toward life. For example, I’d ask him how he was doing and he’d say, ‘Well, stud, I’ve got nothin’ to fuss about and everything to be grateful for.’ Or (depending on to whom he was speaking) he would tell you ‘You’re the best contractor there’s ever been.’ I never heard him complain about anything right down to end of his life.
I was always amazed at his knowledge of Oklahoma towns. We had just signed Justin Jewell ’97 from Bryon, Oklahoma, and just knew I’d stump him. When I asked if he knew where Byron was he said, ‘Well, hell yes stud, that’s God’s Country. It’s two miles south of Amorita and seven miles east of Burlington.’ I gave up after that one since Bryon doesn’t even have a school or gas station!
“There will never be another T-Bone McDonald! He truly cared about every SigEp and would have loved to see the new house built.” Lance Miller ’95
“T-Bone was the ultimate big fish. He would tell the most unbelievable tales you’ve ever heard and he always had a story for whatever subject you might want to discuss. While his stories were often far-fetched, just when you started to question them, he’d show up on the cover of USA Today or be recognized for attending the most consecutive OSU Homecomings.
“He used his stories to teach a bunch of 18-22 year olds about loving and respecting your country and your alma mater and, he stressed the importance of excellence in the classroom. One of his most noted sayings was, “You’re making a hundred and an A+.’
Looking back on our time with T-Bone, I think about how blessed we SigEps were that he took such an active interest in our lives. He loved us and we loved him. He will be missed but you can ‘bet your boots’ that his legend and the lessons that he taught will live on with all of us.” Jason Ramsey ’98
“If you were a SigEp in the 1990s then you knew T-Bone McDonald! During that era he made himself a ‘committee of one’ and gave back tirelessly to the house. I’m forever grateful that I knew this great man (not braggin’, thankful). He brought so much laughter, enjoyment, and wisdom wherever he went. I’d bet almost every SigEp from that era uses a ‘T-Bone-ism’ on a regular basis.
“On September 23, 2006, Oklahoma Alpha held the inauguarl T-Bone McDonald Golf Classic to honor a living legend. The legend has now gone onto God’s Country. He left this world, and us, better for having known him. The T-Bone Classic will be extra special this year as we remember the man we all loved.” Brian J. Schwidder ’96

Top 10 T-Bone Quotes:

  1. “Not braggin, just thankful.”
  2. “Make yourself a committee of one.”
  3. “You’re making a 100 and an A+.”
  4. “Plan your work, work your plan.”
  5. “You’ve got to wake up early in the morning to get ahead of T-Bone McDonald!”
  6. “Stud duck!”
  7. “I knew more by accident than the Ph.D.s did on purpose.”
  8. “Partner, I live in what is called the real world, apparently you haven’t experienced that yet!”
  9. “Most powerful two words in the English language—I suggest and I pass.”
  10. “My daddy always said ‘second is losing’!”

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