Donald C. Nesmith

Donald C. Nesmith


                Donald C. Nesmith, formerly of Harwich, died peacefully in his sleep on Saturday, February 3, 2018 at Liberty Commons in Chatham.  He was 93.  Mr. Nesmith was born and grew up in Brockton, Massachusetts and graduated from Brockton High School in 1942.  He attended Northeastern Engineering School.  In 1945, he graduated from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and went sailing with the Merchant Marine where he helped transfer troops to Europe.  In 1949, he graduated with a B.S. in Education and in 1952 earned his Masters in Education both from Bridgewater State College.


Mr. Nesmith served in the Naval Reserves from 1945-1960.


                In 1946, Don met the love of his life, Frances Burbank and they were married on Easter Sunday, 1949 - almost 69 years ago.


                In 1953, Mr. Nesmith accepted the position of principal at Harwich Elementary School where he served until he retired in 1981.  Mr. Nesmith loved being around children and used to greet each child by name as they stepped off the bus in the morning.  In retirement, lots of former students would recognize and speak to Don as he went about his life in Harwich.  He loved chatting with them and would almost always remember their names.

During his career, Mr. Nesmith was active in the Massachusetts Association of Elementary School Principals (MAESP) serving as President for a year.  Don also served as the Massachusetts representative to the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP).  In the 1960’s, Don served on Governor John A. Volpe’s Council on Economic Education.


                The Nesmith family were travel enthusiasts as they traveled through the United States with their Airstream during summer vacations.  Their favorite destinations were the National Parks.


                Don and Fran were also fortunate to spend winters in Florida for almost 25 years until 2016.


                In 2016, Don moved to Liberty Commons in Chatham and was cared for by many loving and caring professionals.  Don’s family would like to especially thank Brittney, Karen, Kito, Theresa, Sam, Randy, Rebecca, Nancy, Janet, Simone, Michelle, Melissa, Julie, and Savina among many others.  


                Don is survived by his beloved wife, Frances and his two devoted daughters, Pamela and her husband, John Beard of Alexandria, Va. and Claudia and her husband, Jay Lawson of Waltham.  Also surviving is Don’s favorite grandson, Danny Lawson of Waltham and his favorite granddaughter, Emily Lawson of Cambridge. 


                Visiting Hours are Thursday, February 8 from 4 pm to 7 pm at Morris, O’Connor & Blute, 678 Main Street, Harwich, MA 02645.  The funeral service is Friday, February 9 at 11 am at Pilgrim Congregational Church, Harwich Port, MA 02646. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Don’s memory to the Family Pantry of Cape Cod, 133 Queen Anne Road, Harwich, MA 02645

                Notes of comfort may be made to his family at