US Marine Corps

Mark Douglas Donaldson

January 12, 1956 ~ May 19, 2021 (age 65)


Mark Douglas Donaldson, 65, of Pittsboro passed away at home on Wednesday, May 19, 2021 with his loving family by his side after many years of declining health.

Mark was an only child to the late David Lyle and Beulah Keck Donaldson and grew up in Pittsboro where he was a Boy Scout with his Dad as a proud Scout Leader. Mark was also a star running back on the Northwood High School football team. As the late, great Coach Jack Shaner used to say, “Primetime Donaldson.”

He followed in his Dad’s footsteps and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps serving proudly as an MP and Embassy Guard in London. He was handpicked to serve as an Aide to the Commandant and other world leaders. Mark made the best cup of coffee in the world and according to former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, he made the best cup of deeply steeped tea this side of the pond.

Following his military service, Mark’s career in law enforcement included the Chatham County Sheriff’s Department and the Investigations Division of the North Carolina Department of Insurance.  His savvy interrogation skills were second to none, just ask his children! Mark once solved a capital murder case using a cast of a tennis shoe print.  He won a conviction that was appealed and upheld by the North Carolina State Supreme Court, but he could not find a place to park at Target or go through a drive thru restaurant!

Mark is survived by the love of his life, caregiver and soul mate of 35 years, Sara Donaldson.  He leaves behind his greatest accomplishment in his three children.  Two sons, Adam Donaldson and Lyle Donaldson both of Pittsboro, and a daughter, Andrea McKnight, and his favorite son-in-law Carney McKnight also of Pittsboro, along with two grandchildren, Chase Riddle and Finley McKnight.

Mark loved his family, spending time at the beach, his dog Jack, his church, quietly helping those less fortunate, NASCAR, ESPN Game Day, the Washington Redskins, babies, animals, watching Dr. Pol, Jack Hanna, and PBS, playing practical jokes on his co-workers, a good book, square pizza, fine Irish whiskey, a bowl of ice cream and he was never without a tube of original Chapstick.

The family would like to thank the UNC Pulmonary team, Dr. Daniels, Dr. Aragon, UNC Hospice and Dr. Jim Holt for their support and care over the years.

The family will receive friends on Thursday, May 27, 2021 from 5PM to 8PM at Donaldson Funeral Home & Crematory Griffin Chapel.  Please join us for a celebration of Mark’s life on Friday, May 28, 2021 at 11AM at Hanks Chapel Church with Rev. Ray Gooch presiding, (As Mark called him, “The Pope.”). Inurnment with Military Honors and Masonic Rites will immediately follow in the church cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks for you to honor Mark by contributing in his memory to Hanks Chapel Church, P.O. Box 366, Pittsboro, NC 27312.

Mark is immensely proud that Lyle’s work family at Donaldson Funeral Home & Crematory is caring for the family.

Condolences may be made at

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May 27, 2021

5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Donaldson Funeral Home & Crematory Griffin Chapel
396 West St.
Pittsboro, NC 27312

Celebration of Life

Hanks Chapel UCC
125 Hanks Loop Road
Pittsboro, NC 27312

Video is available for this event


Hanks Chapel Church Cemetery
125 Hanks Loop Road
Pittsboro, NC 27312


Hanks Chapel Church
P.O. Box 366, Pittsboro NC 27312

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