RENO, NV – Frank Roy McDonald passed away in his Reno, NV home on November 15, 2018. “Uncle Frank” was born to Alice C. (Shipshee) McDonald and Henry C. McDonald on August 16, 1928, in Topeka, KS, and was the youngest of five brothers: Joseph, William, Cecil, and John. A descendant of the White Earth Chippewa and Citizen Potawatomi Nations, Frank was an enrolled member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation.
Frank was a talented musician, adept at the piano, guitar, bass guitar, upright bass, harmonica, and banjo. He played in the Army Band during the Korean War and later found residence on the Las Vegas Strip, playing in big bands and house bands alongside premier artists of the day, such as Frank Sinatra, Benny Goodman, and The Kim Sisters. Frank was a great singer, with an emotional, raspy tone reminiscent of Tony Bennett, and he was great friends with the legendary jazz guitarist Joe Pass.
Frank loved music and continued performing at various senior centers, with his last appearance coming at the Washoe County Senior Center just two short months before his passing. He was independent up to the end. Frank drove a taxi in Reno for decades but did not drive the last six years of his life, during which he would pack his keyboard and music into a suitcase and drag it all with him on the public bus to his next gig.
Frank thought everything was funny. He had a great smile and an infectious laugh. Frank loved all animals but had a very special place in his heart for cats. He would feed any cat that came around, whether it was his or not.
Frank loved sports and he loved betting on sports. He really loved betting on the horses. He was an avid golfer and he was a fighter, having survived a bout with cancer in his mid-80s.
Frank is fondly remembered by his step-daughter Mollie, and by his many nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the American Cancer Society, give to someone in need, adopt a cat, or just go bet on some horses.
- Courtesy of the McDonald Family