Amherst Magazine

Donald S. Parsons '55

Deceased April 24, 2009

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In Memory

When we needed a classmate to lead and accompany the '55 singers at our 50th Reunion, Don stepped in to do an outstanding job. Don's life was music. He was born on March 10, 1933, and died on April 24, 2009. He was the son of an UMass professor and grew up in Amherst.

Don lived off campus and commuted to the College via bicycle, even in inclement weather! In high school, Don sang in the glee club and took part in several musicales. After graduation from Amherst, he went to Harvard where he earned a master's in music education. At both Amherst and Harvard, Don traveled extensively with their respective glee clubs. Don began his music teaching career in Connecticut and continued in Maine, while also playing the piano and organ for many churches. He also performed a great "down Maine" comedy routine for locals and visitors in Maine.

After retiring, he sold real estate briefly. Don collected sheet music and had a small business acquiring, warehousing and selling sheet music. In 1956 Don married Terry, an Amherst Regional High School classmate, with whom they had four children. Terry fondly remembers Don as a loving husband for 53 years. She says he was many things to many people--teacher, piano player, son, father, grandfather, relative and friend. Terry recalls how she and Don laughed at silly things they said and did. She said Don took pride and amazement about his education and the opportunities it gave him.

The Class of 1955 recognized Don for his dedication to music by electing him our Class choragus at our 50th Reunion. He will be our "honorary" choragus for our 55th Reunion in 2010. Don had a wonderful voice which, unfortunately for us, has now been silenced.

Rob Sowersby '55


A supplement to Rob's Remembrances:

Both my wife and I grew up in Amherst (Town) with Don and Terry and attended some of the same schools in the Amherst area, including Amherst High School (now Amherst Regional High). Don's musical talents were well known including roles in Gilbert and Sullivan Operettas directed by "Pop" Schuler (who also led the "Kids from Home", a show and show band with Amherst High and Amherst College students performing. We will miss him.  

Bob Whitney and Helen (Cary) Whitney


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