BRYAN/COLLEGE STATION — Grace Ganelle Cox Cheves, a native Texan, passed peacefully from this Earth early in the morning of Tuesday the 9th of February in the year 2016 after 95 active years of life.

Born Nov. 14, 1920 in Gustine, to Perry Jewell Cox and Grace M. Cox née Keith, Ganelle was the proud descendant of Texan and American pioneers. She owned the Road Runner Real Estate Company in Comanche, Texas and spent many years as a successful Realtor and businesswoman.

Ganelle was raised on her family farm during the Roaring 20s and the Great Depression. She was the second child of five siblings. Ganelle attended primary school in Energy, graduating from Gustine High School in 1939. Always an outgoing and charismatic woman, she was a cheerleader and voted Class Queen. Ganelle was a life-long member of The United Methodist Church, and from a young age until late in her life, she regularly played the piano and organ at local church services. Her grandchildren will always remember early morning phone calls from her on their birthdays so that she could serenade them with an organ accompaniment.

With her first husband, Marshall Wayne McDonald, Sr., Ganelle began a family in the tumultuous times just before and during World War II. They lived in Burbank, Calif. and Louisiana while her husband supported the war efforts in the industrial sector. They were blessed with four children and settled in Central Texas.

An avid and tenacious correspondent and conversationalist, Ganelle kept close tabs on her large, extended family and many friends with numerous letters and phone calls. She loved socializing and was an active artist throughout her life. In addition to her musical talents she enjoyed a variety of artistic endeavors including painting landscapes, ceramics, writing poetry and craft work including needlepoint and crochet. Like her mother, she made many of her own elegant clothes.

Later in life, in 1975, Ganelle found love again with her second husband, Gordon B. Cheves. They enjoyed travelling and gardening together. While many of Ganelle’s male relatives were members of the Freemasons, it was not until her marriage to Gordon that she became an active member of the Order of the Eastern Star. She truly enjoyed the camaraderie of her fraternal organization in Dublin, Texas. During the holiday season, she and Gordon loved organizing the Toys for Tots donations throughout their community.

Ganelle was preceded in death by her parents; her brother, Perry Horace Cox; her sister, Doris Ruth Smith; and sadly within the last year and-a-half, her son, Marshall Wayne McDonald, Jr. and her elder daughter, Janelle McDonald Thrash; her grandson Lacy McDonald; and her niece Beverly Stewardson.

Ganelle is survived by her daughter, Jayne McDonald Pope of Bryan; her son, Michael L. McDonald and wife Claudette of Bryan; and her daughter-in-law Patty McDonald of Seguin; her “little twin sisters” Wanda Cox Gray Powers of Brownwood and Ronda Cox Heather of Brownwood; and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.

Ganelle’s one granddaughter and 11 grandsons and many great-grandchildren were the light of her life and she lavished attention on them with cards, letters, phone calls (not just musical!) and interesting small gifts.

Ganelle is survived by her grandchildren Pamela Gabriel (husband Kevin, children Sara and Austin) of Galveston, Mark Stephenson (wife Carrie, children Lauren, Grace and Connor) of Conroe, Bruce Stephenson (wife Erlinda and son Logan) of Caldwell, Kemble Keith “Sonny” Pope (wife Katherine) of Davis, California, Daniel McDonald (wife Jessica) of San Antonio, John Mark McDonald (wife Martha, children Valencia and Nathan) of San Antonio, Billy McDonald of Corpus Christi, Anthony Wayne McDonald of Seguin, Brian McDonald (wife Lyndi and daughter Presley), USAF Technical Sergeant Adam McDonald (wife Jessica, children Cameron, Collin, Caitlyn and Caiden) of Witchita Falls, and granddaughter-in-law Linda McDonald (children Heaven, Joshua and his wife Jennifer) of San Antonio.

Per Ganelle’s wishes, her life will be celebrated at a simple graveside service at 2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11 at the Eastlawn Memorial Park in Early. Family and friends are invited to join together at this service.

Heartland Funeral Home of Early has been entrusted with arrangements.

Memorial gifts may be made to the Toys for Tots Foundation, online at or by mail at Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, Gift Processing Administrator, 18251 Quantico Gateway Drive, Triangle, VA 22172.