Amherst Magazine

Donald Bartley Faerber
Donald Bartley Faerber

Don Faerber came to Amherst from St. Louis Country Day School, the pioneering son of parents struggling to give their children the full advantages of family and education which they had not been afforded. While at Amherst, he was active in Phi Delt, debate and the Stone Law Society. After a brief stint pursuing his passion for music, he settled into earning his law degree from Washington Univ. Law School in St. Louis, beginning a lifelong professional interest in banking law, and joining the legal staff of Mercantile Trust Co. But he maintained his interest in the arts and education with notable volunteer service to the Arts & Education Council, the St. Louis Symphony, Young Audiences (which he co-founded), and, of course, Amherst, to which he remained devoted throughout his life. When his marriage ended unhappily, he moved to New York, joining the legal staff of Bankers Trust Company, and, ultimately, as a valiantly recovering alcoholic, practicing law and editing his own banking law newsletter.

But the standard resume does not begin to convey the meaning of his life to his many friends and family, whose care for him and pleasure in his energetic, lively mind grew out of his large capacity for friendship and coursed invisibly through that life, surfacing radiantly at two memorial services held for him in New York and St. Louis. His sudden and unexplained death on December 8, 1993, continues to be a tragic mystery consistent only with the many unanswered questions raised by his alternately endearing and maddening qualities. He is survived by his younger brothers and their wives, Kent W. ('63) and Scottie of Amherst, MA, and Fritz G. and Glenda of St. Louis, MO, and a nephew, Fritz G., Jr. of Berkeley, CA.

His family and friends at the service in New York were consoled by the following poem by Robert Graves read at that service:

The Butterfly, or Flying Crooked

The Butterfly, a cabbage-white,
His honest idiocy of flight,
Will, never, now it is too late,
Master the art of flying straight.

Yet, has, who knows so well as I,
A just sense of how not to fly,
He lurches here and here by guess
And God and hope and hopelessness.

Even the acrobatic swift,
Has not his flying-crooked gift.

-Kent W. Faerber 63

 

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