Donald L. ThatcherNovember 9, 1930 ~ September 20, 2017 (age 86)
Donald Lee Thatcher, 86, a longtime music teacher in the Milford Public Schools and respected musician and soloist, passed away on Wednesday, September 20, 2017 after a long illness.
Don is survived by his five children, Michael Thatcher and wife Heather, Careywood, ID, Suzanne Barsamian and husband Gregory, Boylston MA, Sally Johnson, Sandra Kerr, and J Patrick Thatcher, of Westborough, MA; ten grandchildren; and four great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife of 53 years, Joyce (Quimby) Thatcher, and his son, Stephen Thatcher.
Don was born in Boston, on November 9, 1930, to the late Bernard Lee Thatcher and Mary Margaret Ryle. A loving brother to his sisters Bernice, Eleanor, Margaret and Mary, he learned at an early age to command attention with his resonant baritone voice!
Don served as a Navy corpsman in the Korean War. Upon returning home, he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Boston University. He began his teaching career in Dexter, ME where he met his beloved wife, Joyce. In 1960, they returned to Massachusetts with their budding family, where he continued teaching at Nipmuc RHS in Upton and later, Milford.
The story of Don’s 30 year love affair with Milford Public Schools is the one never written, however, his inspiring and loyal passion went far beyond the classroom. “Mr. T” was the quintessential “music man” to students young and old. He could be seen on football fields and in concert halls, directing the marching band, concert band, orchestra and various choral groups. His passion for musical theater led him to direct countless musicals and even perform in many. The role of “Don Quixote” in the “Man of La Mancha” became a favorite.
Don’s altruistic behavior spread into the community as well, directing music at St. Lukes Parish in Westborough and Milford Community Chorus for 35 years.
Don was former governor of the MA Society of the Order of the Founders & Patriots of America, member of the Sons of the American Revolution, Mayflower Society and an avid genealogist and history buff. When not teaching, he enjoyed reading, Sudoku, crossword, golfing, hiking, and cultivating his bountiful gardens. Family summers were fondly spent at the beloved cottage in Hancock Pt ME.
Battling late stage Alzheimer’s, Don conducted his own brand of music therapy, singing for residents and staff of his care facilities. His legacy includes a lifetime of relationships, accomplishments, truths and values, and it lives on in the lives he touched.
His family is grateful for his many caregivers, especially Sue and Jim Malone, the VA and VNA Care Hospice.
Calling hours are from 5 to 8 PM on Friday, October 13, 2017 at the David A. Pickering Westborough Funeral Home, 62 W. Main St., Westborough MA 01581. A funeral Mass will be held at 10 AM, October 14 at St. Luke the Evangelist Church, 70 W. Main St Westborough, MA. Burial to follow at St. Luke’s Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to “The Don Thatcher Music Scholarship Fund.” Please make checks payable to: GMCC/Community Use. Mail to: Linnea Silvia, GMCC, 100 Lake St Bellingham, MA, 02019.