Don B. Wilmeth
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On February 7, 2020, Don B. Wilmeth, 80, a resident of Keene NH and formerly of Providence, RI, died after a long illness. He was the son of Perry Davis Wilmeth and Pauline Goodrum Wilmeth and was preceded in death by both parents and his sister Elizabeth Wilmeth Pickle. He is survived by his wife Judy Hansgen Wilmeth, his son Michael Tyler Wilmeth and grand-daughter Hazel Bailey Wilmeth.
A professor at Brown University for thirty-six years, Don was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1982 and was the author, editor, coeditor, or series editor of over four dozen books. He was considered a pioneer in the serious study of American popular entertainment and an established authority on the history of American theatre and drama. A former president of the American Society for Theatre Research and dean emeritus of the College of Fellows of the American Theatre, Don Wilmeth also played a role in many scholarly societies, including the Theatre Library Association. the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, and the Society for Theatre Research (UK).
Mr. Wilmeth was also an actor (a favorite role was Dracula, in four different Brown productions), a director, an ardent collector of theatrical memorabilia and a member of the Barker Players. In 2008 he received the William Williams Award for extraordinary support for the Brown library.
Services will be private and managed by the Cremation Society of New Hampshire.

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Published in The Providence Journal on Feb. 14, 2020.
Memories & Condolences
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15 entries
March 30, 2020
In addition to happily having Don as my professor for many classes at Brown, I also had the great pleasure of directing Don as Dracula at Brown Summer Theatre. It was not his first time playing the role, of course, and not only was he brilliant, but he came to rehearsal with his own cape and teeth. I'll miss you, Don....
Rob Barron
March 30, 2020
My deepest, if belated, condolences to Judy and Michael. Don was my mentor and hero. Thanks to his support, I have been able to craft a life in the theater. I will always remember his passion, his humor, and his openness and devotion to his students, his craft, and the theater in general.Rest in peace, Don, you've earned it.
Harold Cropp
March 28, 2020
My deepest sympathies to Judy and Michael.
So many memories. My freshman year I lived in the dorm where Don, Judy (and Michael) were the resident fellows. I concentrated in theatre arts, took courses from Don, acted in and stage-managed S&B shows. After graduating we had a vegetable garden plot in their yard on Hope St. Don had great passion for theatre, theatre history, and teaching. And his Count Dracula at Brown University Summer Theatre was superb. He will not be forgotten.
Connie Kulik Morgan
February 20, 2020
Don brought intelligence and wisdom to the Moving Company Dance Center's (MoCo Arts) Board of Directors. His community service at MoCo helped to make it what it has become today. I valued his input and I enjoyed working with him.
Carol Batchelder
Carol Batchelder
February 19, 2020
I met Don when he arrived at Brown years and years ago!! He was committed to the best work possible, and helped me and many others learn and grow in this incredible world of the theater. Throughout my life, I was inspired and encouraged by Don, and what he helped understand about out craft. I will miss him.
Marc Kohler Brown '69
Marc Kohler
February 17, 2020
Don B. Wilmeth was my mentor and hero as an undergraduate and thereafter. I learned from him and worked with him. His example of excellence guided me through the dizzy and often dire world of academia and his avidity for drama in general, but particularly for George Bernard Shaw's work, made me both a Wilmethian and Shavian. He illuminated for me the world of the stage and the stage of the world, and was the single most important influence on me--outside of my father-- as a young scholar and writer. He and his wonderful wife Judy hosted me in their houses in Providence and Keene; their collective spirits are models for all. And forever! Amen! I love you, Prof. Don B. Wilmeth and will miss you always. Yr. Humble Obt. Svt. and Eternal Stdnt, Jon Curley
Jon Curley
February 16, 2020
Thank you, dear Don, for all the encouragement and good advice during my years at Brown. I will never forget you winking at me from the Faunce House Theatre Stage, when I was stage managing The Desert Song, my first production at Brown. You had this long walk making a circle around the circumference of the stage, and at every performance, always at the exact same moment, when you had your back turned to the audience, you winked at me, passing by. Over my 2.5 years at Brown, as I got to know you better, I learned to value that special balance you had between your love for the art of theatre, your scholarly research and your way of enjoying everything you were involved in with a sense of humour, and a lightness of being. I particularly enjoyed your American popular theatre class. What a treat... During my over 30 years of working in the theatre I recognise parts of all you wonderful mentors I had at Brown. You and John Lucas and David Schrader,, John Emigh and Jim Barnhill, Barbara Tannenbaum and Julie Strandberg, you all left your mark and you are all present, through inspirations and/or anecdotes in my work. Thank you for that. Thank you for being there at the right place and the right time in my life. Airan
Airan Berg
February 15, 2020
Don was a much admired professor of theatre during my time at Brown and contributed much time and talent to The Players at Barker Playhouse where he remained a member to date. His visit here just a couple of years ago was welcome renewal of old and valued acquaintances. His knowledge and warmth will be missed by those of us lucky enough to have known him. Condolences to the family
Carole Collins Providence, RI
Carole Collins
February 15, 2020
Don was an admired colleague for many years. My sympathy goes out to his family and friends, and his many students.
Ann Saddlemyer
Ann Saddlemyer
February 15, 2020
Don's support of my first book was absolutely crucial to its publication in his Palgrave series. If he hadn't so fully encouraged me, I doubt that I would have persisted in revisions or my academic career. I didn't know Don well, but I am deeply saddened by his passing.
Marla Carlson
February 15, 2020
Don Wilmeth was the man responsible for the hosting of the 2013 conference of the International Shaw Society by Brown University, and for providing a viewing of Sid Albert's marvelous Shaw collection. We thank him and miss him very much. --R. F. Dietrich, Founding Presidents of the ISS
Richard Dietrich
February 14, 2020
Professor Wilmeth instilled in me a lifelong love for Theater History, bringing all the personages that played their part to life. I can remember nothing about my other college courses except the stories of Theophilus Cibber, Junius Brutus Booth, Joseph Jefferson and so many others that came to life in Don's lectures, making the times they lived in so much more vivid and real.

Condolences to his family - we were all very lucky to have known him.
Joseph Bachana
February 14, 2020
So sorry to hear this news. Don was Chair ofTheatre Arts during my time at Brown, and was a brilliant professor. Condolences to the extended Wilmeth family.
Roger Baumgarten
February 14, 2020
Don was a great mentor and I appreciated his support. He will be missed.
Susan Harris Smith
February 14, 2020
My deepest condolences too Prof. Wilmeth's family. He was an inspiration to me, as he was to all, and he will be greatly missed.
Cheryl Black, University of Missouri
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