Born:October 14, 1927

Passed Away:September 18, 2013

Location:Sun City, Arizona

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Donald Roger Rawson

Donald Roger Rawson


Donald Roger Rawson passed away peacefully at his home in Sun City, AZ, on September 18, 2013.  He was 85.

Born to loving parents Eva and Stephen Rawson, he grew up in the small mill town of Harrisville, RI, during the Depression and World War II.  In his senior year of high school, Don was honored as the top scholar-athlete in the state.  He attended Brown University where he played football, hockey and baseball.  He served in the U.S. Army from 1946 to 1948 and again from 1950 to 1951.  He graduated in 1950 and embarked on a career in education.  After teaching and coaching at Suffield Academy in Connecticut and Buckley Country Day School on Long Island, Don became Head of Stanley Clark School in South Bend, IN in 1968.  During his 20 years in this position, Stanley Clark achieved national recognition as a Distinguished School and Don served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Independent Schools Association of the Central States.

Don had four sons with his first wife, Mary Louise Gammons:  Donald Jr., Richard, William and Charles.  In 1966, Don married Shirley Leidersdorf, mother of son Craig. The combined family lived in Port Washington, Long Island, for two years before moving to South Bend, where Don and Shirley lived until moving to Sun City West in 1996.  Don and Shirley were married 46 years.  Together they enjoyed golf, tennis, skiing and bridge, as well as travel for pleasure and to visit children, grandchildren, and in their last years, great grandchildren.  Don and Shirley spent their final years at Royal Oaks Retirement Community in Sun City.  Shirley died in 2012.

Don is survived by a proud and loving extended family, including stepson Craig Leidersdorf and wife Donna of Westlake Village, CA; son Donald Jr. and wife Janet of Westfield, IN; son Richard and wife Kimberly of Issaquah, WA; son William and wife Mary of Bethesda, MD; son Charles of Cottonwood, AZ; son David Miller and wife Jill of Toronto, Canada; granddaughter Carole Anne Davis and husband Jim of Northborough, MA; grandson William and wife Uta of Washington, D.C.; grandsons Christopher and Brett of New York City, NY; granddaughter Elizabeth of New Haven, CT; granddaughter Catherine of Campton, NH; grandson Matthew of Exeter, NH; grandson Kyle of Westfield, IN; grandson Eric Leidersdorf of Santa Barbara, CA; granddaughter Margaret of Palo Alto, CA; grandson Simon and granddaughter Julia Miller of Toronto, Canada; great grandson Caden and great granddaughter Callie of Northborough, MA; and great granddaughter Lorelei and great grandson Rory of Washington, D.C.

Don was an active member of the Congregational Church of Sun City and his life will be celebrated in a memorial service to be held at the church at 12:00 noon on October 19, 2013.  Those who wish to honor his memory are asked to contribute to the Mayo Clinic Foundation of Rochester, MN (www.mayoclinic.org/development), the Congregational Church of Sun City, AZ (www.congregationalchurchofsuncityaz.com), the Stanley Clark School of South Bend, IN (www.stanleyclark.org), or a charity of their choice.  You may also leave a message for the family at www.bestfuneralservices.com.

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4 Memories to “Donald Roger Rawson”

  1. Nancy S says:

    Dear Family – You have my deepest heartfelt condolences. May God be with you to bring you comfort and peace through this difficult time. He promises at Isaiah 61:2, 65:8, to actually do away with death forever; … will certainly wipe the tears from all faces.

  2. Jim Pfeil Stanley Clark '77 says:

    My prayers and condolences go out to the Rawson family. Mr. Rawson was the ideal headmaster especially for keeping 5th-8th grade boys in line. Tough but fair, and slightly intimidating. (Even at John Fannin’s retirement party I still called him Mr. Rawson.) As parent with one still in middle school I fully appreciate the example he set and the leadership he gave Stanley Clark.

    As our hockey coach he always gave us encouragement and rewarded effort. Which was good because we were often short on skill. Thankfully I did get to share some great stories and laughs with at the retirement party.

    His memory will live on with his family and all his former students.

  3. Edgar Berners says:

    My prayers and sympathy to the family of Don Rawson. Our four children spent most or all of their school years at Stanley Clark and graduated while he was headmaster. My late wife Joan had the greatest admiration for him and all of us were grateful for his efforts in providing an excellent education and school experience for our children. May he rest in peace.

  4. Evelyn Gartland Zifcak says:

    My deepest sympathy to you all… To Don’s children, Don, Jr,. Steven, Billy, and Charlie (The names as I knew you way back when). And to all of Don’s extended family of whom he was very proud. His death came as a shock since I had e mailed Don a day or so before his death on the 18th and he responded. Don and I were classmates and good friends at Burrillville High School class of 1945 and after. ( He may have told you that we were the BEST class ever to graduate from BHS) I did get to meet Shirley at a class reunion… a fine lady. I have many fond memories of Don and I join in your sorrow.

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