Jon MacDonald Interview in Palm Aire Communities Council Newsletter
Neighbors in Our Midst
An Interview with Jon MacDonald
Dan Reeves | Palm Aire Communities Council Newsletter
I recently interviewed an interesting resident from Pine Trace, Jon MacDonald for our new column, Neighbors in Our Midst. Although he left Chautauqua, New York in 1972, he has been a resident in Palm Aire since 2000. Jon retired in 2017 and used to work as bartender and Beverage manager at the very popular Sawmill Inn Restaurant in Sarasota. He then spent 33 years in wine and spirit sales.
Since retirement, he has worked part-time as a tour guide leading the Discover Sarasota Tours’ popular City Sightseeing Tour. He says that of all of his jobs, this is the one he loves the best. He said, “This is the one job that I like to get up and go to! This is the
most fun I’ve ever had collecting a paycheck.” What follows are excerpts from our interview.
DAN: What prompted you to move to Sarasota?
JON: I’ve moved here in 1972. My mom and her husband-to-be, Curt Haug, had moved here from Western New York state. That’s where I grew up Chautauqua.
DAN: So that’s where your famous stepdad, the first director of the Van Wezel, is from?
JON: Well, that’s where he met my mom. And, he ran YMCAs throughout the Northeast and then ended up at Chautauqua Institution. He started as treasurer there and ended up as president. He met my mom there; they fell in love and moved down here after
he took his position as managing director.
JON: I came down to visit and I stayed in 1972. I thought this place was fantastic. For the last three years, I’ve been very, very proud to be a tour guide downtown working for Discover Sarasota Tours. Believe it or not, I’d always wanted to be a tour guide. Any time I went on a tour, any vacation trip, Boston, Atlanta, wherever I turned to my wife and say, ‘Janet, I want to be a tour guide when I finally grow up!’