By Elisa Fernández-Arias
Join us in celebrating the life of Stephen “Mac” McDonald, leading kitchen and bath industry figure, founder of Thurston Kitchen and Bath and longtime NKBA member.
On January 23, 2023, Stephen McDonald, a loving father and grandfather, passed away at age seventy-four. Throughout much of his life, “Mac” was well known in the
kitchen and bath industry, and it all began soon after he graduated college. After earning his Bachelor’s degree in business at the University of Missouri in 1971, he made his way to Aspen where he was determined to stay. In 1974 he started a lumber company with friends and after selling lumber, cabinets and appliances for three years he made the decision to expand to full-time kitchen design and founded Thurston Kitchen and Bath in 1977.
His timing could not have been more perfect. Thurston Kitchen grew quickly, in step with the expansion of the second home/mountain home ownership that has powered the Colorado real estate industry for over the past 50 years. Thurston and its subsidiaries grew to over 18 locations throughout Colorado, Utah and New Mexico. In Colorado, Mac was widely recognized as one of the leading figures in the regional kitchen and bath industry throughout his long and distinguished career.
Mac’s influence in the kitchen and bath industry extended well beyond Colorado. Numerous manufacturers and many industry trade organizations asked him to serve on advisory committees regarding kitchen and bath trends and product innovations. In this way, he had an impact on the industry nationally. VP of Thurston Mark Schmidt said of Mac’s leadership and impact: “Mac’s commitment to innovation and cutting-edge design helped to set Thurston apart from other competitors. He introduced exotic finishes, innovative interior storage systems, euro-case construction and a host of other concepts to the Colorado marketplace.”
Throughout his life, Mac enjoyed skiing, hiking, traveling and sharing great stories. He loved his kids and all things Aspen. He had a huge appreciation for his employees at work as well as the close relationships he built within the kitchen and bath industry. He is survived by his brother Greg, sister Diane, three children Beshka, Chase and Heath, grandchildren Ellis and George and his beloved dog, June. A private celebration of life will be held in Denver and Aspen in the coming months.
Schmidt also added: “Mac McDonald, entrepreneur, kitchen design innovator, humanitarian – A Colorado Life Well Lived!”