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Snowmobile accident victim had 'big heart'

Gerald MacDonald of Lenore makes faces with his wife Diana. The 55-year-old farmer died Wednesday afternoon in a snowmobile accident.

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Gerald MacDonald of Lenore makes faces with his wife Diana. The 55-year-old farmer died Wednesday afternoon in a snowmobile accident.

Friends and family are mourning the loss of a Lenore man they described as "busy" and "community-minded."

Gerald MacDonald, 55, died following an accident with a snowmobile Wednesday afternoon.

MacDonald’s brother-in-law, Brian Enns, said the 55-year-old Assiniboine Valley farmer recently became a grandfather, a role he relished, and was eagerly anticipating the birth of his second grandchild.

"His little grandson was the joy of his life," Enns said.

An avid farmer, who raised chickens and cattle, MacDonald also worked off the farm for an electrical company performing power locates on oil leases.

Enns described MacDonald as the quintessential farmer, who at times had a gruff exterior, but once you got to know him he was good-natured.

"He had a big heart," he said.

MacDonald married Enns’ sister Diana almost three decades ago. The couple have three children of their own —Alyssa, Dallas and Dylan — and were active foster parents.

His oldest child, Alyssa Elliott, who is expecting her second child, fondly remembered growing up in a busy household after her parents chose to welcome foster children into their home about 15 years ago.

"After we built the new addition on our house, they decided that because we we’re blessed to afford an addition that we should be able to help others," she said.

The details of how MacDonald died are still unknown, although police said it wasn’t a collision.

"We’ll never know what happened in this situation because the snowmobile only travelled about 30 feet," Enns said.

At approximately 4 p.m. on Jan. 1, Virden RCMP and local emergency personnel responded to a call to a farmyard in the RM of Woodworth, where a man was reported to be trapped by a snowmobile.

MacDonald was found pinned between the track of the snowmobile and the machine itself. RCMP say it looks like he was working on the snowmobile in a shed or garage when the mishap occurred.

At approximately 4 p.m., Virden RCMP and local emergency personnel responded to a call to a farmyard in the RM of Woodworth, where a man was reported to be trapped by a snowmobile.

It is not known exactly how long he was trapped in the snowmobile track before emergency personnel arrived. A call from one of his foster children was made to authorities soon after he was heard screaming for help.

The man was pronounced dead on the scene. An autopsy is scheduled to take place in Brandon.

» ctweed@brandonsun.com

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition January 3, 2014

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Friends and family are mourning the loss of a Lenore man they described as "busy" and "community-minded."

Gerald MacDonald, 55, died following an accident with a snowmobile Wednesday afternoon.

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Friends and family are mourning the loss of a Lenore man they described as "busy" and "community-minded."

Gerald MacDonald, 55, died following an accident with a snowmobile Wednesday afternoon.

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