Donald B. Sparrow
1921 - 2014
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Donald Baxter Sparrow, 92, died March 13, 2014. Born, raised, and retired in Eastham, he lived an active and engaged life. The son of Jenny Smith-Sparrow and Daniel Sparrow, Donald attended the one-room schoolhouse in Eastham followed by Phillips Exeter Academy, Harvard at age 16, and MIT graduate school in Chemistry. He worked for Polaroid, Scott Paper Company, Johnson & Johnson, and 25 years as a consultant for Arthur D. Little, working in 40 countries. Retiring home to Cape Cod in 1982, he entered public service as an Eastham Library Trustee, chairman of their building committee, and President of the Eastham Historical Society. He was instrumental in changing Eastham's form of government--as chairman of the Eastham Charter Commission--from three full-time selectmen to professional management with a town administrator and part-time selectman. He then ran for selectmen and served three 2-year terms. After leaving political life, he started publishing his memoirs in "Growing Up On Cape Cod" as well as entering the lecture circuit about early Cape Cod life, rumrunners, and Cedar Banks Golf Course. He met his wife, Orleans native Reta Cummings, while working at Howards Johnsons in Orleans. They were married May 1944 until her death in May 1993 and had two sons, Robert and David. In 1995 he married Genevieve Galli, and they traveled widely. He became her primary caregiver when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's until she moved to an Alzheimer's facility. She predeceased him by just over one month. Survivors include son Robert Sparrow and his wife Marjorie of Orleans, their children Perry and his wife Erin of North Andover, MA, and Maya of Brooklyn, NY; son David Sparrow and his wife Marilyn of Chorleywood, UK, their children William and his wife Fern and their daughter, Lily of Chesham Bois, UK, and Robert and his wife Amy of London, UK. He is predeceased by two brothers Robert and Wilbur and is survived by brother Fenton and his wife Margot of Orleans and Florida. From cutting asparagus before school, camping for weeks on Coast Guard Beach, using the Windmill as a book-reading clubhouse in his early years to docent at the Windmill on the green and the Schoolhouse Museum, Honoree at Windmill Weekend, Turnip King, and most recently honorary chairman of the newest Eastham Library Building Committee Donald loved and cared about Eastham. He was most proud that his grandchildren were the 13th generation to attend school in Eastham. A celebration of Donald Sparrow's life will be planned for July and a notice will appear in the newspaper. Contributions can be made to the Eastham Library Building Fund P.O. Box 406 N. Eastham, 02651 or Hope Hospice 765 Attucks Lane, Hyannis, 02601. For online condolences, please visit

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Published in The Cape Codder from Mar. 17 to Mar. 24, 2014.
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7 entries
July 27, 2014
To the family of Don Sparrow: Just found out about Don's passing today, July 27,2014 when I could not complete a phone call to his home in Eastham. I was planning on paying him one of my semi-annual visits this coming Sat, last saw Don around Christmas 2013. It was at one of college (Drexel Univ, Phila, Pa) co-op jobs that I went to work at Scott Paper in the Research Lab and Don was my boss. It was only for 6 months (The co-op program was a 5 year course (Chemical Engineer), 6 months in industry, 6 months in school. He was a great boss and we "hit it off", right from the start and have been in touch over the all these years. I was shocked to learn of his passing in March.
My sincerely condolences to all the Sparrow family. He was a great man and good friend and had a remarkable life and career. I always looked forward to our visits to The Sparrow residence in Eastham. My Margaret and I enjoyed our visits with Don and Gen very much.
Sincerely, Bob Barfoot, 11A Monticello Dr., Whitin, NJ 08759
Robert Barfoot
March 18, 2014
To my wonderful uncle.....You never skipped a beat and always kept me laughing. You will be missed by all that had the pleasure to have known you.
Love Gale
gale sparrow
March 18, 2014
My sympathy to the Sparrow family. Donald lived an exciting and long life. Thinking of you at this sad time. With heart sympathy, Wendy Underhill
March 17, 2014
We send our sympathies to the family of Donald Sparrow. He lived a long, involved and fulfilling life. We did not know him, but if we can judge from his son, Robert, he must have been a good man.
Sue and Bob McNutt
March 16, 2014
My condolences to the Sparrow family. I always considered it a privilege whenever I had a chance to visit with Don. A wonderful man. He'll be missed.
Don Wilding
March 16, 2014
My condolences to the family. I worked with Don for many years while he was at AD Little. We travelled to many clients around the world. I saw him here on the cape several times in recent years A truly great man.
john starr
March 15, 2014
We wish to extend our deepest sympathies at this difficult time.
The Staff of Nickerson Funeral Home
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