Philip Darby McDonald

July 3, 1928 - Nov. 4, 2012

After a long battle with cancer, Phil McDonald, 84, went to be with Jesus on Nov. 4, 2012. He first came in contact with Young Life in 1945 when he heard Jim Rayburn speak at an assembly at his high school in Yakima, Wash. Two years later he helped drive some kids to The Firs in Bellingham, Wash., for a Young Life weekend camp. McDonald recalled, “At the camp that weekend was Jim Rayburn, Add Sewell, Murray Smoot, Ollie Dustin, Wanda Ann Mercer, Orien Johnson, Norm Robbins and Annie Chears. WOW! I was overwhelmed and very excited by everything I saw and heard.”

He later attended Whitworth College, where he served on student staff and met his future wife, Joan. In 1950, Rayburn invited McDonald to bring his legendary sense of humor and accordion-playing skills to the summer program team at Star Ranch. While attending Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS), McDonald led club in Tyler, Texas, a 100-mile trek which he took several times each week for the full four years. Upon graduation he met with Rayburn, who had decided where the couple would start their full-time staff work. McDonald told the story: “After graduating from DTS in the spring of 1956 Jim called and said he was sending us to the Minneapolis/St. Paul area in Minnesota. I wanted to stay in Texas, but Jim had a very persuasive argument. Something like, ‘You’re going.’”

He served there until 1979 in the positions of staff, area director, regional director and divisional director. Joan McDonald wrote about her husband’s faithfulness in the Twin Cities. “Phil led the Washburn Young Life club in South Minneapolis for 28 years with the largest attendance being more than 400 kids. There are seven guys who met the Lord in the Washburn Young Life club who are now   full-time pastors.”

McDonald was on the forefront in promoting women to executive positions in Young Life and in other youth ministry. He was also an integral player in getting Castaway Club, our camp in northern Minnesota, up and running. He himself said it was one of his biggest challenges and one of his greatest joys. Jeff Munroe, in his book, Castaway, wrote, “Phil McDonald assumed the role of the patient caregiver of this vineyard, pleading for more time to solidify camp finances. Of course, in the changed lives of kids fruit was being produced, but there were enormous fiscal pressures on the camp. ‘I always figured, if it was worth beginning, it was worth continuing,’ McDonald said. ‘I knew that property was everything a kid could want, and all we needed was some better equipment. I always believed it would work.’”

 — Jeff Chesemore


George Moore

Nov. 16, 1949 - Nov. 24, 2012

On Nov. 24, George Moore went home to be with his Savior after a courageous battle with cancer. Moore’s involvement with Young Life goes back to 1971 when he came on staff in Indiana. He was instrumental in the mission’s growth throughout the state, especially in Indianapolis. He became an area director on the northeast side of Indianapolis and then moved into the role of regional director of Indiana from 1980 to 1986. A gifted camp speaker and leader, Moore’s love and enthusiasm for Jesus were contagious. For the past 18 years he served as a senior pastor in Omaha, Neb. Moore and his wife, Pam, were never far from Young Life. In fact, Pam served as an area director, then regional director before leaving staff  in 2010.

“George was perhaps one of the most encouraging and ‘big dream’ leaders I’ve ever served with. As a young staff person so long ago, I would come to George with ridiculous, radical, childlike dreams and ideas on how to reach kids or raise money. He would listen intently as I would excitedly ramble on. Then, he would get this really mischievous, but honoring grin on his face and say, ‘Go for it, Ash … Jesus  can do it!’

“He was a visionary to the ‘nth degree’! He not only  saw situations and people for what they were, George saw them for what they could be. I will really miss my brother, George Moore.”
— Mike “Ash” Ashburn, special assistant to the president. 

-- Bailey Wolford​