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Donald was the son of Malcolm Macdonald and Catherine; he was born in Swordale and at some point lived at 31 Swordale, but it is not entirely clear if this was his parental home.
He became the "tidsear balach", the second male teacher in the secondary department, in Tolsta School in the 1950s. He left to become headmaster at Gravir School.
He married Dolina Macleod, of 12 Sheshader, and the couple had two children at an unknown location.
He became headmaster at North Tolsta Junior and Secondary School in 1960. The family settled at the Schoolhouse and the couple had their third child there.
In 1971 the family left Tolsta and settled at 18 Upper Bayble.