The selection of the McDonalds as the architects for Sarah Joslyn's memorial building was no surprise; John McDonald had worked for the Joslyns on virtually every building they had involved themsleves in and had counted George Joslyn among his personal friends. He was a pallbearer at George's funeral and served in an honorary capacity at Sarah's.
John McDonald (1861–1956) happily collaborated with Sarah Joslyn in building a memorial to her husband, George. Canadian by birth, he studied architecture at McGill University and came to Omaha , via Boston, around 1880.
His son and business partner, Alan (1891–1947), graduated from the Harvard School of Architecture in 1915. During the period of 1890–1930, they were among the leading architects in Omaha, designing over 50 buildings in the city (including Benson High School, The First Unitarian Church at 3114 Harney Street, Dundee Theater at 4952 Dodge Street, and Beth-El Synagogue at 210 South 49th Street); the Joslyn Memorial is undoubtedly their masterpiece.
John McDonald (second from left) is seen with Sarah Joslyn (center) and other members of the Society of Liberal Arts at the Joslyn Art Museum groundbreaking, October 3, 1928.