Obituary: Shannon H. McDonald, 55

Shannon H. McDonald, aged 55, of Southborough, MA, peacefully entered into rest on March 26, 2021, surrounded by her family at her side. Adored wife of Howard Rosenstein and devoted mother of Samuel and Jackson Rosenstein. Cherished daughter of James and Mary Helen McDonald and sister of Erin Rowley, all of Erie, PA. Beloved daughter-in-law, sister-in-law and aunt to nine nieces and nephews, and irreplaceable friend to countless others.

Shannon grew up in Erie, PA on her family’s farm, developing a lifelong love for horses and the accompaniment of dogs, and an all-around appreciation for nature’s creatures and beauty. Shannon had a passion for so many interests whether they be crafts, knitting, reading, trying new recipes, learning every neighborhood dog’s name, or stopping everything to watch Pretty Woman, Sister Act, Parent Trap or Mamma Mia. 

After graduating high school from Mercersburg Academy, Shannon attended Colby College and earned a bachelor’s degree in Sociology, and made what became lifelong friends who embraced her genuine kindheartedness. 

Following her graduation from Colby, and after beginning her professional career in Boston, Shannon attended Boston University and earned a master’s degree in Social Work. If ever there was a person perfectly suited for a profession, it was Shannon for Social Work. Her selfless soul and desire to help the most needy led her to a career of providing the necessary services for the most vulnerable of all, at-risk children in the Worcester area aged birth to three.

Her natural sense for nurturing and gift of remarkable patience were instrumental in her proudest accomplishments – the raising of two beautiful sons who resemble their mother in their caring demeanor. For a couple who joked that they were so different that they could never agree on what toppings to put on a pizza, Shannon and Howie spent nearly 30 years together sharing a full and rewarding life supported by a foundation of abiding love, laughter and respect. Cherishing every day together, especially over the past 5 years, their marriage and family time was based on quality, desirous of quantity, but sadly curtailed by one of life’s unexplainable and cruel diseases.

Shannon’s desire to persevere, under the harshest of consequences, resulted in a 5+ year effort to overcome a disease in which most succumb in half that time. Her resilience, stoicism, determination, and outright refusal to concede, along with the help of a loyal cadre of providers of both conventional and alternative medical approaches, not to mention the loving support of family, friends and neighbors, enabled Shannon to set the examples of always remaining positive and enjoying each day. Throughout these past 5 years, it was this quiet but unwavering spirit that served as a constant reminder to her family in how to live life and will be the cornerstone of her family’s commitment to continue her legacy in her memory.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to Dana Farber Cancer Institute c/o Dr. Deborah Schrag, 450 Brookline Ave, Boston, MA 02215 – please be sure to write Shannon McDonald on the memo line to insure funds will be directed towards Appendiceal Mucinous Adenocarcinoma.

Visiting hours will be held Tuesday, March 30, from 3:00-7:00 p.m. at 9 Hickory Rd, Southborough, MA 01772. All Covid-19 related protocol (face masks and distancing) will be observed at the family residence’s backyard. Please see for information. Memorial service to be held at a later date.

(Obituary and photo via Westborough Funeral Home)

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