Geraldine O’Hara Grant MacDonald ’26

University of Montana School of Law, Class of 1926

Obituary:  “Noted Lawyer, Mrs. Macdonald, 78, Hamilton Taken by Death

+++++Rosary is being said this evening at Dowling chapel for Mrs. E. R. Macdonald, 77, longtime valley attorney who died Feb. 4 early in the morning at St. Patrick hospital after being a patient there for a month. She had been in poor health for several months. . . .
+++++Geraldine O’Hara was born Feb. 21, 1897, in Hamilton, a daughter of Robert A. and Frances Hughes O’Hara.  Mr. O’Hara, a noted attorney, was an agent for the Bitter Root Development Co. which was the owner of the Hamilton townsite, then being laid out for the mining magnate Marcus Daly.  Mr. O’Hara became the first mayor of Hamilton.  He was also one of the group of men who established the Citizens State Bank.  At his death Dec. 18, 1954, he had practiced law in Montana longer than any other living attorney.  Mrs. O’Hara, who died less than two months earlier, on Oct. 24, 1954, loved to recall witnessing the legislation by the Montana legislature which made the Bitter Root valley a county in its own right.  Mr. and Mrs. O’Hara made their home in Hamilton always following their marriage.
+++++Miss O’Hara attended Hamilton schools and was graduated with the class of 1914.  She attended Trinity College in Washington, D.C. from 1914 until 1917 and the University of Montana in Missoula where she received her BA and LLB in 1926. She then became associated with her father and Miss Emma Madeen in law practice.
+++++Her marriage to E. R. Macdonald took place Sept. 27, 1940, in Reno, Nevada.  Her husband, who served as a city magistrate and justice court judge for a number of years died Oct. 14, 1964.
+++++Mrs. Macdonald is survived by sisters, Roberta Hart, Metuchen, N. J.; Mrs. Mary Butzerin, Spokane; nephews and nieces.
+++++Pallbearers will be Clare Conroy, M. L. Miller, Larry Persson, Barry Persson, Jerry Bates and Don McKenna.”

unidentified news clipping, dated February 5, 1975


+++++The Ravalli County Bar Association convenes its members in a session of sorrow.
+++++Geraldine O’Hara Macdonald, affectionately known as “Jerry” to her colleagues and many friends, died at St. Patricks Hospital in Missoula, Montana, on Tuesday, February 4th, 1975.
+++++She was born February 21st, 1897, in Hamilton, Montana, and attended local schools, then Trinity College in Washington, D.C., and finally the University of Montana, where she would have completed her law studies earlier, but due to the Law School closing during World War I, she did not obtain her degree until 1926, and has practiced law in Hamilton since that time.
+++++Except for her Father, Robert A. O’Hara, who practiced here from 1890 to 1954, Jerry practiced law in Ravalli County longer than any other attorney.
+++++She was not only a dedicated and exceptionally well-qualified attorney, but an active member of the community, a loyal friend, an unselfish advisor to young and old, rich and poor, and an outspoken defender of the rights of all.
+++++She was a pioneer member of the Hamilton Golf Club, the Lost Trail Ski Area, and the University Women, and had a vital interest in everything that ‘moved’ in our community (and the entire world) during her long and very full life. She was the beloved ‘Aunt Jerry’ to her family.
+++++She was a sincere, and sometimes vocal, believer in women’s equality and their rights under the law, long before the movement ever received national attention. She was, however, always fair and understanding, and would view the evidence with a legal mind. She was, above all, a person of great integrity.
+++++To the end she was a fount of information on the Bitter Root Valley, the people who made the valley what it is, and the source of otherwise unavailable information regarding the area.
+++++We, her friends and colleagues, and all who knew her as she passed by, will be better people for having known Geraldine O’Hara Macdonald. She was unique.
+++++BE IT RESOLVED that this resolution be spread upon the minutes of this association and be read into the records of the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District of Ravalli County.”

+++++10 signatures of members of the Ravalli County Bar Association


+++++21 February 1897, in Hamilton, Montana


+++++Robert A. O’Hara and Frances Hughes


+++++2 sisters

Undergraduate Education:

  • Trinity College 1914-1917
  • B.A. University of Montana, 1918

Legal Education:

+++++LL.B. University of Montana School of Law 1926


  • Charles C. Grant on 17 February 1920
  • E. R. Macdonald on 27 September 1940


  • Appointed City Attorney of Hamilton, 1928
  • Member of Firm — O’Hara, Madeen, and Grant


+++++4 February 1975, in Missoula, MT

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