~ Saying goodbye to John MacDonald a.k.a. 'Papa Jaun' of Cofresi ~


New member
Dec 15, 2002
I'm posting this here and there so that those who knew John MacDonald will know he has left us as of this afternoon, Sunday October 15.

It was John and Judith MacDonald who picked up my parents and me at the Puerto Plata airport upon my very first visit to the Dominican Republic over 20years ago. I was entranced by the cane fields, carts pulled by mules and other sites on the way to Cofresi, as John described all that was new and strange to me. A couple of years later when I went to live there for a bit and discover the DR for myself, John was a sort of surrogate parent to me. If not for John I would not know how to play cribbage and my Dominican experiences would not have been as rich. Our road trip to Barahona, oh boy - I will never forget.

John reveled in the fun and differences of the Dominican Republic and anyone who knew John knew how much he loved the people as well. The woman and her two children who came on to help around the house became family. I'm sure Christina has tears in her eyes at this moment. John sent one of her children to the U. S. to be educated as well as another Dominican child - both now young adults.

John had battled fiercely with cancer the last couple of years and it finally got the best of him, before he would have otherwise been ready. Here in New Hampshire for medical treatment he recently learned he had only a couple of weeks left and it was his wish to spend his last days on his porch looking out over his beautiful Cofresi. Judith made sure this would happen and made preparations to quickly get him back. He died according to his wishes, surrounded by loved ones and will be buried in his beloved Dominican Republic.

I will miss you John. I doubt I will ever step foot on Playa Cofresi and not think of you.

Those who knew John and want funeral and wake information can email or PM me, as I should have this information shortly.

El Tigre

El Tigre de DR1 - Moderator
Jan 23, 2003
Oh man let me tell you that as I read this I had to fight back the tears. I'm a very emotional person and when I read things like this my throat chokes on me. I had never lost anyone dear to my heart until two years ago when I lost my Grandama whom I loved so much. It appears John was very close to you. I know exactly what you are going through. My condolances to you and his family. May he rest in peace.


Oct 7, 2003
Papa Juan - may you rest in peace

Thank you for letting us know. I was one of the fortunate who had the pleasure of knowing John. He opened his home to me during a small crisis, and his kindness was never forgotten. He was a very interesting man to talk too, and you are right, the DR was his beloved. From my first days in Cofresi, he made me feel welcome, and along with Chris Coates and James Hasties, they all made my experience there a memorable one.
My thoughts and prayers are with all the family and friends whos lives he touched.



Feb 14, 2003
Very sad.. Thanks for sharing your experience with us. Sorry.
May John RIP.



New member
Oct 16, 2004
Poppa Juan!!

Festero, you speak only the truth!!
John MacDonald was a very unusual human being. He led an unusual life. He loved the DR & knew how to enjoy it!
An interesting aspect of his DR life: he & his wife Judith, of New Hampshire, married 34 years, adopted 2 very young DR girls, @ about 2 years of age, at different times; he cared for both; 1 - Deena, met a Canadian, married, migrated to Canada where she has been living for 5 - 10 years. The 2nd - Ginette - migrated to New Hamsphire, lived primarily with Judith, graduated from an American high school & is living in New Jersey, working & attending a local community college. Both would never have been able to realize those bright futures w/o the love, attention, & $ of both Poppa Juan & Judith. Well done!!
This country would be a different & much better place if there were 1,000 - 5,000 Poppa Juans. We, Americans & Dominicans, shall miss him!