Amherst Magazine
Donald Ross Grant '45

“He was the best editor I’ve ever seen in my life,” wrote the former chief justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court, describing Don Grant who died on March 28, 2007.  “He could take a draft opinion, and by a few deft moving of phrases, he would say what we were trying to say a lot better than we did.”

Don entered Amherst by way of Deerfield Academy and was pledged to Alpha Delta Phi.  Three years in the US Navy as a lieutenant (jg) split apart his college career, as it did with so many of us, but he returned to graduate cum laude in the spring of 1947.

There followed three years in the “sweatshop,” aka Harvard Law School, which led to a position as law clerk to one of the justices of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.  This court is celebrated as the oldest in continuous existence in the Western Hemisphere.

For twenty years, Don served as an associate and then partner in the law firm Ropes and Gray.  This led to an appointment to the newly created Appeals Court, from which he retired in 1988 as the senior justice of the Court and ninth ranking judge in the Commonwealth.

Don was an enthusiastic airplane pilot, a pastime he shared with a fellow judge.  They would often fly down to Nantucket for lunch and return to complete their day’s work.

Don married Ruth Chadwick in 1952, and they had two children Steven and Sally.  Don was predeceased by Ruth in 1982 and Steven in 2002.  In 1988 he married Gail Fletcher, a long time friend.

Our Class extends its sympathy to Don’s survivors, Gail and Sally.

—Daniel B. Leavitt ’45

 

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