Skip navigation

Obituary: Dennis McDonald, Owner of Chicago’s McDonald Associates Rep Firm and Leader of NEMRA

NEMRA lost one of its best-known leaders this past Sunday with the news that Dennis Patrick McDonald, died on April 9 at his Chicago area home after a long courageous battle with cancer.

Born on Feb. 8, 1954 in LaGrange, IL, Dennis was born to Richard and Rose (nee Carey) McDonald. He was the owner of McDonald Associates; gave tirelessly of his time to the National Electrical Manufacturers Representatives Association (NEMRA); and was a past-chairman of NEMRA. Along with being recognized by Electrical Wholesaling as one of the rep industry’s leaders with the 2003 GEM Award recipient for Independent Reps, he was also honored by the Electrical Association of Chicago as a Big Shillelagh in 2011. In his free time he enjoyed golf, the St. James softball team, and bicycle riding along Lake Shore Drive. He was a huge baseball fan -- especially the Cubs – and liked a great cigar and scotch.

When Dennis won the 2003 GEM Award the article in Electrical Wholesaling on that award offered a little bit of insight into a person who was proud of being an independent manufacturers’ reps and enjoyed taking on and often beating manufacturers with direct sales forces with a package of services and an unmistakable personal touch of the Irish that he and his brother, Kevin, nurtured ever since they first started the McDonald Associates rep agency. Said the EW article:

“Take a love of Chicago's electrical world first nurtured by trips to the Chicago union hall with his father, a union electrician for 50 years. Add the entrepreneurial spirit that burns brightly within any independent manufacturers' representative. Stir it up with 30 years of electrical industry sales experience, first with Daniel Woodhead, then with the agency he owns with his brother, Kevin O'Neil.

"Give it a shake or two and you get a pretty good idea of what drives Dennis McDonald, McDonald Associates, Arlington Heights, Ill., to continually reinvent the firm and add to its arsenal of marketing services.” 

Dennis is survived by his wife of 35 years, Linda McDonald (nee Daniels); his children, Kelly (Mike) Dziurgot, Kara McDonald, and Patrick (Kristi) McDonald; his grandson Colin Dziurgot; his siblings Richard (Pamela) McDonald, Maureen (Mike) LeVanti, Kevin (Susan) McDonald, Kathleen (Mike) Holt,  Theresa (Richard) Paul, Terrance McDonald, Marguerite (Todd) Montgomery, Virginia McDonald; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his sister, Mary McDonald and his parents. Visitation from 3:00 pm until 8:00 pm, Tuesday, April 11, 2017 at Glueckert Funeral Home Ltd., 1520 N. Arlington Heights Rd. (4 blocks south of Palatine Rd.) , Arlington Heights, Illinois. Prayers 9:15 am, Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at the funeral home proceeding to St. James Catholic Church, 831 N. Arlington Heights Rd., Arlington Heights, Illinois for Mass at 10:00 am. Interment at Queen of Heaven Cemetery. In lieu of flowers memorials may be given to American Cancer Society. Funeral Information and condolences can be given at or (847) 253-0168.

Dennis was a good friend to the editors on the staff of Electrical Wholesaling and we would like to extend our condolences to his family.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.