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SYLVESTER -- Albert Lee McDonald, 63, entered into rest, peacefully, at home, on Sunday, December 30, 2012, surrounded by loved ones after a lengthy illness.

Visitation was held Tuesday, January 1st from 6 until 8 p.m. at the chapel of Banks Funeral Home.

A Celebration of Life Service is planned for Saturday, January 5th at 2 p.m. at the Worth Community Center located on Hwy 313 North in Sylvester. Family and friends are encouraged to bring a covered dish. Guitars, instruments, and "Albert" stories are welcomed.

Albert was born on November 8, 1949 in Albany, GA to Charles McDonald and Mildred Hatcher Bentley. He was a graduate of Kubasaki High School in Okinawa, Japan and Dougherty Comprehensive High School in Albany, GA. He was the oldest of five sons and traveled the world as an Air Force Brat.

Albert was a renowned musician. He was fortunate to share his love of music through employment as an illustrious studio musician with Capricorn Records where he worked with many Southern Rock groups including The Charlie Daniels Band, the Allman Brothers, Wet Willie, and Lynrd Skynrd; he also worked with R & B artist Chaka Khan. Most notably, he was credited for his work playing the mandolin on the Marshall Tucker Band's album "Searching for a Rainbow". He continued his music career later in life by recording a solo album, "Eden's Promise" and has performed throughout the southeast with various other artists. His family and friends mostly just enjoyed the times when he would pull his acoustic guitar out and just started "pickin' and grinnin'".

Albert loved life. He believed in the best in people and helped them believe it of themselves. He was a devoted friend and anyone who knows him had an "Albert" story. There was never a dull moment with him around, the perfection of a practical joker. A man who wasn't afraid to tackle a New York Times crossword puzzle with an ink pen, he was artistic, eccentric, and an intellect like no other who never met a stranger and loved the strange. He belonged to an intimate group who helped each other recover from the human condition.

In the words of one of many who loved him dearly, "He was my friend (he told me so and I felt it), a mentor (at one time we studied scripture and prayed together most every morning), a guide (Albert stayed with me in a time when NO ONE wanted to be my friend and just kept encouraging me that things would get better), a little crazy (we all have great stories there), and a gift from God. "

He was preceded in death by his father, Charles McDonald; brother, Stephen (Pete) McDonald; and the mother of his daughters, Pamela Rich Green, his first kindred spirit.

Survivors include his wife and second kindred spirit, Mary Jane Hester McDonald of Unadilla; children, Kellie Parten of Poulan, Skye Sanchez (Kevin) of Sylvester and Marshall McDonald (Lindsay) of Ty Ty; granddaughters, Heather Sanchez, Madison Powers, and Hannah Sanchez; and great-grandson, Kobryn Sanchez; mother, Mildred Hatcher Bentley (Tom); step-mom, Millie McDonald; brothers, Stanley (Repete) McDonald (Margie) and Jerry McDonald (Claudia), all of Oklahoma and Keith McDonald of Albany.

He led his life in accordance with one of his favorite quotes (taken from his bio on facebook), "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-deserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming... WOW! WHAT A RIDE!"

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Albert McDonald Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 1160, Unadilla, GA 31091. The family would like to thank Southern Care Hospice of Macon and Crisp Regional Home Care.

You may sign the online guestbook at www.banksfh.com

Banks Funeral Home

Sylvester 229-776-2055