Kenneth MacDonald, a graduate of Lincoln High and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, trained for the ministry at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, Princeton University, and abroad in Germany. He accepted a missionary assignment in the Philippines in 1909. Kenneth married Alice Compton, who was also a graduate of the University of Nebraska, in 1913. Alice returned with him to the Philippines after a honeymoon in the Holy Land. They had four children, three of whom survived. Their second child, Esther, died of dysentery in Cebu at a mission meeting when she was three. Alice died in 1924, ten days after her fourth child, Robert, was born.
Kenneth married Margaret Wickes, a missionary teacher in 1926, and they had three children. Kenneth worked on translating the New Testament into the main Philippine dialect. At the approach of the Japanese during World War II, Kenneth and Margaret fled into the Philippine mountains with four of their children, Bobby, Helen, John, and George. Their other two children, Janet and Sibyl, were living in the U.S. at this time. The family was found and taken prisoner in 1942. They were held in Santo Thomas Prison until released to live in a compound in 1944. From the compound, Kenneth and family were re-interred to Los Banos where they were starved and then rescued on February 23, 1945. The MacDonalds recuperated in Missoula, Montana for 16 months before returning to the Philippines to pastor and rebuild damaged mission and church buildings. In 1952, retirement brought the family to Missoula where Kenneth pastored various churches. He died at age 86. Another interesting thing to note is that Alice’s sister, Nellie Jane Compton, worked in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln library during the 1920s and 30s. Their brother Charlie Compton was also a librarian at the St. Louis Public Library, and R.K. MacDonald, Alice’s son, was a high school librarian for 36 years.