Remembering a Champion, a Philanthropist, a Friend


“John was incredibly proud of the innovations like continuous glucose monitors and the artificial pancreas, that benefitted him, Allison, and the T1D community. It’s because of his efforts that people with the disease are living longer, healthier lives and curing T1D is within reach.”
– Joe Lacher, Chairman of JDRF’s International Board of Directors

John J. McDonough was a self-made man with a successful career in business and finance. But to us, he will be remembered for his service to JDRF and his perseverance in moving life-changing research forward for the many people living with type 1 diabetes (T1D) today.

John served on our International Board of Directors and as board chairman. He and his wife, Marilyn, were also founders and proud supporters of the BETA Society, which honors donors who have included JDRF in their will or estate plan.

John and Marilyn have five children, but it was the diagnosis of their daughter, Allison, with T1D in 1983, that led John to become involved in accelerating T1D research.

John was six when he was diagnosed with T1D in 1943—long before insulin pumps, continuous glucose monitors, and engineered insulin were available. He was told he would likely die by age 15, but instead, he thrived. John was determined to defy the odds and control his disease and he succeeded.

But his own success wasn’t enough. He wanted to make a signif­icant contribution and change not only his daughter Allison’s life, but the lives of everyone living with T1D. He made signif­icant gifts over the years to advance research while also serving on many special JDRF committees.

John passed away earlier this year from complications of T1D at the age of 84. We are forever grateful to John and the role he played advancing our JDRF family’s mission to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications.

If, like John and Marilyn, you’re interested in changing lives through a legacy gift, please request our free booklet, Your Will to Give: A Guide to Creating Your Legacy by filling out our request form here.