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McDonnold, Hugh, Sr. D.

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July 30, 1939 - December 9, 2013

McDonnold, Hugh, Sr. D.

Hugh McDonnold Sr., Texan, ad-man, artist and father, was born near Houston in 1939. One of his earliest memories was the family hearing news of victory in World War II. By 1950, they had traded life on the seismic-oil-exploration circuit for relative stability in Houston’s Riverside Terrace neighborhood.

The population of the Bayou City in 1950 was less than that of Milwaukee Wisconsin. Prince’s Drive-In was the popular hangout, and the McDonnold home on South Macgregor Way was a hub of activity and extended relatives as Hugh grew up with his sister Julie. From an early age he loved drawing horses and cowboys. In the summers he spent time at the family bay house, as well as working on his cousin’s cattle ranch in Liberty County, living the life he had earlier drawn. In high school he rode the Salt Grass Trail, a cattle-drive reenactment beginning in Brenham and culminating in the parade that opens the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Much later in life Hugh would make similarly long rides by bicycle. Eventually Parkinson’s would rob him of significant physical control, but even then he enjoyed being on the road, watching the landscape from a car window or while walking.

Graduating from San Jacinto High in 1957, Hugh’s life took him to Texas Tech and the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves before he finished his degree in fine arts at Sam Houston State. He returned to Houston with a family of his own and began a career in advertising. After two decades and two sons–Hugh Jr & Paul–through college he left it as the Creative Director of MDR, Inc., to freelance and spend more time painting.

In this, the last stage of his career he exhibited in many shows and galleries, and the beauty of natural places figured prominently in his work. Oceans, prairies and hills were deep in his soul. When he made his recent journey from this life it is easy to imagine him witnessing similar or even greater vistas than these. As his friends and family remember him today we give thanks for his life and its intersection with our own.

ARIA Cremation Service and Funeral Home
19310 Preston Road
Dallas, Texas 75252
214-306-6700

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Julie Simmons

July 01, 2015 9:16PM

Paul, I was just going through my old Facebook posts and re read this beautiful story of Hugh's life. You really brought back such touching memories. He would be so proud of the way you captured his story! Thank you! Love you very much!