Getting to know Frances L. McDonald!

This week’s Human of the Week is Frances Luhmann McDonald, a life-time Astorian, and all around awesome person.


How long have you lived in Astoria?

I’ve been in Astoria all my life. That’s 81 years!

We hear that either Astoria has changed completely, or not at all in the past few decades. What do you think?

I think Astoria is very different! The biggest change is in the population growth. The change in ethnicity. Many Astorians were originally immigrants from western Europe, like Italy, and Germany. Now, the majority is Greek. I think as the world got smaller, Astoria got bigger, so many more different ethnicities came here.

You’re really into politics, what do you do politically?

Well, I’m a registered democrat. I belong to the Taminent Regular Democratic Club. I’m very vocal, and I ask questions. I always want to know what’s going on, and I usually have something to say about it!

You’ve also recently started writing?

Yes! I never thought about writing anything, until my friend Arthur Rosenfield approached me to write a political column. It’s called Political Junkie, and I write all my thoughts on what’s going on in politics! It’s really a hoot – I have people saying “Here comes the political junkie!” when I come by.

How did you first get involved in politics?

When my husband, Mr. McDonald, died, I didn’t want to stay home. I wanted to stay active in the community. He was a former district leader, and I was always very involved, so I kept it going.

Do you think it’s important to stay busy and keep active?

Absolutely! I think all senior citizens need to stay active – physically, mentally, and emotionally – because what good is sitting alone in your room! You should be out there, staying active. My doctor told me recently I was too active. He said to me, “Fran, you need to slow down. You need to rest.”

That’s great! Tell us a little about your stand-up comedy.

Well, I was asked to do some comedy for the Astoria Senior Star, and I did two bits. I did one short bit this year, and I sang a song. If you would’ve heard me sing…oh boy! When I hurt my back, I went to the doctor and I said, “You better help me stand up, because I have to do stand-up!”

That is awesome. What else do you have going on?

Well, I try to stay connected! I play Words With Friends. I also have my 81st birthday coming up! Here’s a fun thing: After my husband passed away, I took classes to learn home improvement! I learned how to fix an air conditioning all by myself. Then I learned to make chair covers. I never let anything stop me. My friends said, “Fran, we didn’t know you could sew,” and I said, “I can’t, but I never let that stop me!” That’s my motto. You have to want to keep trying new things. I’m thinking about getting an iPhone for my birthday – I want to try out all these new apps! That’s what everyone should do. Try new things, always. Never stop learning!