Donald "Sandy" McGill, Jr.

Obituary of Donald "Sandy" Forbes McGill, Jr.

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Donald Forbes McGill, Jr., age 72, a native son of Darien, passed away after a short illness with lung cancer on Thursday, August 17, 2023.

Sandy, as he was known to family and friends, was born on May 10, 1951 in New York City. He was the oldest son and second child of Carol and Donald Forbes McGill, Sr. Sandy was five when the family moved to Darien. He attended Darien public schools and his happy childhood outside the classroom included exploring the woods of Woodland Park across from his home with his dogs and boyhood pals. He loved sports and after learning to ice skate on the town's ponds, hockey became a life-long passion. He developed into a talented star athlete, playing on the first line of the Darien High School hockey team that won the Connecticut State Championship in 1969.

At Williams College, Sandy's hockey career took a time-out when he was seriously injured in a car accident. With his characteristic determination and will, Sandy refused to withdraw from school and continued to attend classes in a back brace and crutches his freshmen year. His time at Williams as an Eph brought him many lasting friendships. Many of them were formed in the "infamous Sage B dorm" over a common love for rock music. With his college buddy Dan Schwartzman, Sandy brought artists who would later become music legends to play on the stage at Chapin Hall on campus. Among them were The Byrds, Pink Floyd, Van Morrison, Stevie Wonder, Little Feat and Rod Stewart.

After receiving his undergraduate degree in English in 1974, Sandy spent seven fulfilling years working and living in Europe. At the Monte Rosa International School in Montreux Switzerland, where he was a popular English teacher, he also coached the tennis and ski teams. At 25, he became headmaster of the co-ed boarding school.

By 1981, Sandy was back in the United States just as a revolution was taking place in the cable television world. Sandy was a member of the incredibly talented team that launched MTV (Music Television), getting it distributed into millions of homes, starting the affiliate sales group and helping build the network's brand into a cultural powerhouse. MTV allowed him to combine his love and knowledge of music with his business skills. Throughout his television career, Sandy was a key executive at Showtime, Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, VH1 and the Game Show Network, networks he helped become household names.

In the 1990s, Sandy jumped into the dot com boom and led a team at Prodigy to help media giants like ESPN, CBS, CNBC, Discovery Networks, and Turner Networks establish their first online businesses. He was also involved in, and The, two early online ventures.

Sandy never lost sight of the importance of family and friends no matter how many hours he put into his career. He was a loving husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend. He was a loving father to his son, Ian, who he taught to ice skate, ski and play hockey. Together they were avid Rangers' fans, riding the rollercoaster turns of the team every season. He instilled in Ian the values of strength, kindness, compassion and work. He was a loving husband to his wife, Alice who called him, "her rock."

There were memorable family trips all over the world. His favorite places were the Costa Brava, Spain; Italy, France, Hawaii, Mesa Verde, Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, Yosemite, Big Sur, New Mexico and Vancouver. Closer to home he enjoyed seeing the sunsets at Weed Beach and Sherwood Island, walking his dogs at Cove Park in Stamford, soaking in the waves in Rhode Island. His favorite things were pickles, gazpacho, Cape Cod potato chips, banana ice cream and strawberry shortcake as a birthday cake.

Sandy was a dog lover and had a deep bond with canines wherever he went. He adored all the dogs he lived with since childhood: Squire, Dulce, Alfie, Blazer, New York and Obi. But even dogs he would meet randomly would bond with him instantly.

In addition to his wife and son, Sandy is survived by his sister, Christine McGill Fabie of Belmont, California; his brother, William Barry McGill of Worthington, Ohio and eight nieces and nephews. He was pre-deceased by his sister, Leslie McGill.

A wake for Sandy will be held on Saturday, August 26 at Lawrence Funeral Home, 2119 Boston Post Road, Darien from 3-5 p.m.

A memorial service in celebration of Sandy's life will be held on Sunday, August 27 at First Congregational Church, 14 Brookside Road, Darien at 1 p.m.

Burial will be private at Spring Grove Cemetery in Darien. The family wishes to thank everyone who has sent condolences and farewells to Sandy, a man whose life was defined by strength, dignity, grace, wit, intelligence and gentle humor.

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Visiting Hours

3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Saturday, August 26, 2023
Lawrence Funeral Home
2119 Boston Post Road
Darien , Connecticut, United States

Memorial service

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Sunday, August 27, 2023
First Congregational Church
14 Brookside Road
Darien, Connecticut, United States
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Donald "Sandy" McGill, Jr.

In Loving Memory

Donald "Sandy" McGill, Jr.

1951 - 2023

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