SOUTH DEERFIELD - Donald Ian ("Dingle") Laird Sr., 86, of South Deerfield, died peacefully Monday, March 18, 2013, at Charlene Manor in Greenfield, after a brief illness.
He was born March 5, 1927, in North Adams, the son of Mary Jessie Laird, a native of Scotland.
Donald grew up in Clarksburg, where he attended local schools. At Drury High School in North Adams, he was known as "Dingle" to all (after 'Dinglehoofer und, His Dog', a popular comic of the day). He was an excellent student and outstanding athlete in both baseball and football.
He served in the U.S. Navy
during World War II
, with a rank of Carpenter Third Class (which prompted him to sing "If I Were a Carpenter" at any and all times.)
After his discharge from the Navy, he played semi-professional football and baseball.
On June 27, 1948, Donald married the love of his life, Alice Parker of Adams, at the First Baptist Church in North Adams. They would have celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary in June of 2013.
A hard worker and devoted provider, he worked at many jobs during his working life, including Wall Streeter Shoe Company, Budd Paper Company, James Hunter Machine Company and for 20 years in the Williams College Food Service.
He lived in North Adams for 42 years, happily retiring to South Deerfield in 1990.
He was a longtime member of the First Baptist Church in North Adams, where he taught youth and adult Sunday School classes, served as a deacon, and became an experienced lay preacher.
Donald was an intelligent, curious and creative man. An avid reader of books about any and every topic, he also loved to explore the world through his National Geographic magazines. He was very proud to note that in 1964 the Laird family was named the North Adams Library's "Library Family of the Year."
He loved gardening and grew excellent tomatoes and raspberries, yet fought a lifelong battle to keep the birds away from his blueberry bushes. He was very artistic and enjoyed drawing, painting and puttering with his woodworking tools on his latest project. A talented handyman, he was gifted with screwdrivers and hammers, but was more famous for his creative fixes (with duct tape, rubber bands, belts, clothes hangers and bubblegum among his favorite alternative tools).
He was a gracious, gentle and kind man with an engaging sense of humor. A gifted storyteller, he would enthrall his family and friends with various interesting tales.
He took up golf in 1970 and played well into his 80s, always hoping for that elusive hole in one. He loved to play pool with his sons and grandson, astounding them with his smooth behind-the-back shots, and frustrating them as he skillfully found a way to win almost every game. Donald was a lifelong fan of the Boston Red Sox and loved college basketball, especially the University of Connecticut women's team.
Donald was a devoted, loving, doting and supportive husband, father, father-in-law, grandfather and great-grandfather who adored spending time with his extended family.
Survivors include his wife Alice of South Deerfield; his son Bruce and his wife Catherine of Port Washington, N.Y.; his son Peter and his wife Jeannine Atkins of Whately; daughter Christine of New Britain, Conn.; his grandson Benjamin; his wife Kelly and great-grandson Ian of Greenwich, N.Y.; and granddaughter Emily of Los Angeles, Calif. He also leaves distant cousins in Scotland.
He was preceded in death by his son Donald, Jr., in 2003.
The Wrisley Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. There will be no calling hours.
There will be a funeral service Wednesday, March 27, at 11 a.m. at the First Congregational Church of Whately, 177 Chestnut Plain Road, Whately, with the Rev. Dr. Cynthia Crosson-Harrington and the Rev. George Harris officiating.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Don's name may be made to Hospice of Franklin County, 329 Conway St., Greenfield, MA 01301, The Music Series at South Church at 90 Main St., New Britain, CT 06051 or a
Expressions of Sympathy available at www.wrisleyfuneralhome.com.
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