Don was born in Buffalo New York, where he grew up in the suburb of Cheektowaga on Lake Erie, one of the snowiest places in the country. He used to build igloos with his friends in his backyard when the snow was too deep for walking and shovel out neighbors’ yards as a first job. He attended Maryvale Senior High School. As a teenager, he developed into a musical prodigy, composing a symphony for his high school and playing the piano with precocious skill.
In his twenties, he moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts during the fertile, turbulent period of the 1960’s. He became a part of the vital folk music scene there, performing and composing in many coffeehouses and clubs.
His idol was Bob Dylan but his tastes were ecclectic, and he enjoyed other musicians in many genres. He shared that passion with his family and close friends. He had an extensive collection of classic folk albums, as well as classical and contemporary recordings. He often practiced the piano works of Robert Schumann and Frederic Chopin to keep his fingers in shape. In his later years, he returned to playing classical works and composing original music but still played acoustic pieces on his Martin guitar.
His love for animals was another large part of his life. His dog Shilo, an irrepressible white Labrador Retriever, was dearly loved and brought much joy to everyone who met him. He and his wife always supported animal shelter adoptions and believed in caring for the wildlife and natural environments that sustain us.
He is survived by his wife Giovanna, his three children, Tina (Bob) Newton, Edward (Meredith) Weber, and Jennifer (Jim) Rasmussen, his grandchildren Savannah, Breanna, John, Cecily, and Ella, as well as his ex-wife Jean Donovan, his brother Daniel, and sister Judy Anderson. In lieu of a funeral service or flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Plymouth Animal Shelter, 2199 State Road, Plymouth MA 02360.