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Gryphon Gallery: Richard McDonald

Richard C.E. McDonald attended GNS (Glenlyon Preparatory School) from September 1965 to June 1969. His final report described him as a strong academic, always giving an outstanding effort (Endeavour Prize 1968), with a high level of proficiency in Mathematics (Mathematics Prize 1969). Not particularly athletically inclined, but always gave his best in PE and was third in the 1969 Sports Day Shot Putt. 

Richard passed away in March of this year after a long illness. “He was warm and friendly to everyone he met and always had a great curiosity and interest in other people and life in general.” 

Of particular noteworthiness was that he always marveled at many of his schoolmates who would go on to become famous, among them, Atom Egoyan, award-winning filmmaker, Matt Frewer, noted actor, singer and comedian, and Thomas (Tad) Homer-Dixon, political scientist, author, and former personal advisor to Vice President Al Gore, without ever crediting himself as being successful. 

And yet, what is the measure of success? “Richard was first and foremost a professional historian and antiquarian owning and operating antique, book, and Chinese art stores, and for a number of years, he owned Admiral Stamp and Coin located on Fort Street, one of the largest stamp and coin stores in North America. His wealth of knowledge also included war medals and militaria as well as antique postcards. After the sale of his businesses in the 1980s, Richard worked with the major British auction houses, becoming a Sotheby’ associate, as one of only two experts in the world on Military Medals and Orders of Knighthood. He had been a consultant to clients around the world in many fields of history and antiques, and consulting for the Royal British Columbia Museum, Victoria Art Gallery, Maritime Museum of British Columbia, Canadian Scottish Regimental Museum, and CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum.”

More recently, his great love for and deep knowledge of Victoria made him an award-winning host for tours of the city in his beloved vintage Bentley, the flagship of his Admiral Limousine Service— in fact, you may have noticed him passing along Beach Drive, stopping outside the Junior School Campus and probably telling a wonderful tale of his old school to his passengers. 

It is fair to say that throughout his life he courageously did his very best and was very happy to rejoice with those that were credited with the limelight that he did not seek—is this not truly exemplifying the GNS motto, is this not the true measure of success?