Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Felix J. McDonald, R.I.P.

Folks, I apologize- with working two jobs, exhaustion has been the order of each day- and I missed this e-mail sent to me by Dave Montgomery and Doug Virden yesterday (6/8/15):

Obituary for Felix J. McDonald
Felix J. McDonald, 89, of Wrightsville, Arkansas, passed away, Friday, June 5, 2015. He was born, February 4, 1926. Felix was in the U.S Army -40th Calvary Reconnaissance Troop during World War II. He was the Chief Engineer at KAAY radio and a founder of Alice 107.7 radio. He was a member of Mabelvale Pike Church of Christ.

He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Lois Oletia Hatley McDonald; daughters, Nancy Rinehart (David), Patricia Hardwick (Mark), Cindy Terrazas (Juan); sons, Larry and Lynn McDonald (Carla); fifteen grandchildren, Jason Rinehart, Aubrey Futch (Brandon), Rachael Mizell (Chris), Travis McDonald (Allie), Chris McDonald ; Doug McDonald, Zachary Williams (Danielle), Caleb Williams, Stanley Hardwick, Kali Terrazas, Shea Terrazas, Blayne Terrazas, Aaron McDonald, Alex McDonald and Andrew McDonald; five great-grandchildren, Rylin Rutch, Tynlee Futch, Zane Mizell, Wyatt Williams and Charlotte Williams; brother, Quitman McDonald; sisters Betty Fowler, Lucy Brann and Lois Sikes. 
He is preceded in death by his parents, James and Ella (Brown) McDonald; brothers, Colvin McDonald and Robert McDonald; sisters, Edna Young, Norma Dreher, Mary Riggin, Helen Johnston, and Ruby Johnson; 
Funeral service will be held 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, June 9, 2015, at the Smith-North Little Rock Funeral Home. Visitation will be held Monday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the funeral home. Burial will be in Martindale Cemetery. Online obituary at www.SmithFamilyCares.com.
To send flowers or a memorial gift to the family of Felix J. McDonald please visit our Sympathy Store.
David B. Treadway said, "Always knew where to hit it if it didn't work.  What a WIZARD."
I was fortunate to meet Felix and his wife when I visited Little Rock a few years ago- what a gentleman!
Thank you to Dave and Doug for letting me know...



  1. I had the honor and pleasure of talking by phone with Felix McDonald twice, first in 1998, and sometime around 2010. For someone I had never met before, he spoke with me like we were longtime friends. In an indirect way, I would like to think I helped connect McDonald to this blog. I am grateful to have had those conversations. My thoughts go out to his family.

  2. Paul, I was the same way on my visit to his home. Such a wonderful man, I was blessed to meet him. We discussed Ham radio as well (He was licensed and enjoyed 10 meters), but was not active in his later years...so we had a common ground, as well.

  3. As per H.W. Duncan sent in an e-mail to me: "There is no telling what Felix and Pat (Walsh) have cooking in Heaven right now. But whatever it is, it is undoubtedly #1."


  4. The only time I remember any significant down-time for KAAY was in the early 70's when it was still a LIN Broadcasting facility. Felix had gone to Texas (either Dallas or Houston, I don't recall which) to help with the installation of a new transmitter. While he was there, KAAY suffering a failure at the transmitter site. Of course, Felix was the Chief--but KAAY had several other engineers on staff, too. Even some of the engineering staff from KTHV TV 11 were called in to help troubleshoot. No one was able to get the old girl going again. After about 24 hours of dead air, Pat Walsh was so frustrated that he chartered a jet to bring Felix back to LR. Within minutes of walking in the door at Wrightsville, the old RCA sprang to life and KAAY was back on at full power.
    He knew that facility BETTER than he knew the back of his hand! RIP Chief.

  5. To the "RIP, Chief" anonymous commenter- please give us your identity, we'd like to know you! As for the comment, I can't remember who it was that was "there" when it happened, but it was said when Felix arrived on the scene, some wiseacker said, "Let's see YOU fix it, boy!" Felix put some parts back where they belonged and saw a contactor that wasn't in place; he asked someone to hand him a broom and reached out, pushing the contactor back in lock. "Big Mama" roared to life again.. Too many people overlook the obvious- these guys were eating a lot of crow after this incident. Hail to the Chief! Bud S.

  6. I just saw this. Felix was a mentor and friend to me in my time in Little Rock. Always positive, always friendly, and he certainly knew his stuff. I spent many a time at the KAAY transmitter listening to his stories

    Tom Nichols

  7. Felix took care of our stations in the Little Rock area when I was employed by the old Branson Music Network. One day in the late 90s, my chief and I took a trip to Felix's house and he gave us an extensive tour of the KAAY transmitter site, even firing up the filaments on "Big Mama." While showing us around, we noticed names etched in some of the rectifier bases. Felix told us when one of the engineers he served with passed, he would etch their name. He paused a moment then said "I guess I'm the last one." Sad to see the old RCA gone, and sad to see Felix gone, too. A fine gentleman if there ever was one. I hadn't kept up with the blog in a few years (obviously) and just saw his obituary today. Glad to see KAAY back in full service and I think Felix would be happy, too.

    Eric Douglas