Amherst Magazine

Donelson C. Glassie, Jr. ’56

Donelson C. Glassie, Jr. ’56 died February 3, 2011.
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Donelson C. Glassie, Jr., ’56   

Don (my dad) died February 3 after dealing with pancreatic cancer miraculously well for 20 months. He never stopped working. Sailed competitively all summer and fall. Skied ‘til just a few weeks before the end.

Of his college days, I know only what my mother tells me (they were dating at the time), what he relayed during my own Amherst years and what I learned as his “date” at the 50th reunion. He was an Econ. major and member of D.U. who won an award for his messy room. He and his friends ran some sort of casino or roulette wheel out of the house — shades of Casino Night? There was a spring break road trip to Florida in a vintage ambulance. And he was invariably late picking up my mom, Phyllis, at the train when she visited on weekends.

Don wasn’t one who returned to Amherst with regularity — reunion attendance was limited to the 25th (when I was a student) and 50th — but he always sang Lord Jeff with gusto and touted the college as an amazing place whose graduates do amazing things.  

His own career started with three years in the Air Force as a radar controller in Casablanca. He then studied electronic engineering at Stanford and often said he would have been in on the ground floor of Silicon Valley if only he had finished that degree. Instead, he imported turtlenecks and ski sweaters from Austria. That morphed into designing sweater dresses, hot pants and a full line of women’s sportswear under his own label. He ran boat shows in Newport (RI), Annapolis and Miami for many years.

Ultimately, Don’s focus became real estate. He developed — and his company still operates — three inns in Newport (Harborside, Jailhouse, Yankee Peddler), another on Martha’s Vineyard (The Pequot), two hotels in Miami Beach (Avalon, South Seas) and two in Manhattan (Park South, The Strand). The collection is called Atlantic Stars.

And he was one.

 —Liz Glassie Doucette ’83

 

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