Obituary of Thomas E. Donaldson

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Thomas E. Donaldson

October 8, 1931 - April 9, 2004

Hampton Union, Tuesday, April 13, 2004

HAMPTON - Thomas E. Donaldson, 72, of 22 Cliff Avenue, died Friday, April 9, 2004, at his winter residence in Naples, Fla.

He was born on Oct. 8, 1931, in Washington, D.C., the son of the late Thomas A. and Kathryn (Packard) Donaldson.

He lived in Cleveland, Ohio, for many years and was a graduate of Fairview High School. He attended Bowling Green University in Toledo, Ohio. He was a former executive director of the YMCA for the states of New Hampshire and Ohio.

He had resided at Hampton for 14 years. He was a contributing writer for the Atlantic News for several years, a former trustee of the Lane Memorial Library of Hampton, a member of the Hamptons American Legion Post 35, and a member of the Hampton Rotary Club.

He was a veteran of the U.S. Army, having served during the Korean War. He was predeceased by his first wife, Corrine Donaldson.

Family members include his wife, Frances Donaldson of Hampton; his children, Thomas E. Donaldson Jr., of Wallingford, Conn., Dr. James Donaldson of Marlton, N.J., and Sally Luther of Middlefield, Ohio;, his wife's children, Robert Kacmarcik of Hampton, Mary Baker of Irvine, Calif., and Martha Ager of Middleton, Mass.; and 13 grandchildren.

Death Notices

DONALDSON - Thomas E. Donaldson, 72, of Cliff Avenue, Hampton, died Friday, April 9, 2004. Services will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday at the First Congregational Church, Winnacunnet Road, Hampton. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited. The family requests there be no visiting hours and that flowers please be omitted. If desired, donations ma made to either the Lane Memorial Library Children's Room, Academy Avenue, Hampton, NH 03842; or to the Hampton Rotary Club, Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 353, Hampton, 03843. Arrangements are by the Remick & Gendron Funeral Home & Crematory, Hampton.

Baseball, The Way It Should Be

By Tom Donaldson

Atlantic News, Thursday, April 16, 1998

(Editor's Note: Atlantic News writer Tom Donaldson recently returned to the Seacoast after a vacation in Florida. While there, he wrote the following about the attractions of Florida in the springtime.)

SARASOTA, FL -- Ahh, to be in Florida now that spring is here! Temperature is 75, sky very blue, wind out of the northeast at 15 mph and it is what the natives call a bad beach day. Too cool, the gulf too choppy, and the wind, too strong. We, New Hampshire-ites, call it beautiful! The gulf water is about the temperature of the water off North Beach in late July after a hot couple of weeks, but ... oh, well on to baseball.

Joyfully, the Sarasota Herald Tribune sports pages are full of baseball news because the Cincinnati Reds train here, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at St. Pete, Phillies in Clearwater, Rangers (with Rocket Roger) at Port Charlotte, Yankees at Tampa and yes, our own Red Sox down the road in Fort Meyers, City of Palms Park. Because of the close proximity to major league baseball they are reporting daily box scores, commentary and neat stuff like Larry Doby (first black player in the AL) is going into the Hall of Fame and our old buddy Wade Boggs is looking for his 3000th base hit this year as he wears the Yankee pin stripes.

After a trip down the road to Fort Meyers and the City of Palms (Sound nice? It is) Stadium, one has to reflect on the way baseball used to be and how it should be. The spring training in the Grapefruit League is "how it should be." Our Red Sox whomped the hapless Montreal Expos pretty good. However that is not what it is all about. Spring training scores don't count nor does the fact that our beloved Sox are playing .700 ball.

The thing that does count is the thrill of a day game played outside on a real grass field with the sun shining and the players who are trying to make the team are giving their all. Can you believe the best seat in the house is ten bucks, and parking is only two? The parking attendants are all Rotarian volunteers and want to know where you are from and the concession vendors and beer guys are friendly and quick with a joke. Many ushers are handicapped, ours was blind but said with a smile, "Tell me your section and seat number and I will show you where it is." Can you imagine? He puts those Fenway ushers to shame.

If you want a scouting report, number 42 the "great unsigned" Mo Vaughn is crushing the ball and has acquired a sort of new grace at first base (Sign him quick, Mr. Duquette). Nomar Garciaaparra, last year's AL rookie of the year, is hitting, running, sliding and hustling just as he did when he thrilled us last year. John Valentin, solid journyeyman third baseman, is up to hitting his avg .306 from last year. A couple of young outfielders appear very promising: Darren Bragg and Damon Buford look like outfielders of the near future.

Catchers Scott Hatteberg and Jim Leynitz both swing a fair bat and both look as though they could throw a runner out at second base. Ahh, pitching you ask. Wakefield has been solid in the spring and Derek Lowe looks very promising. The saver we need is old friend Dennis Eckersly, he is happy to be in Boston and should still be able to come through with a lot of saves.

We aren't talking world series here, but over 500 and possible playoff material. If the management doesn't mess with these young millionaires (they are very sensitive you know), the Sox should be a lot of fun in 1998.

If you have read this writer's previous commentaries on baseball you know that it isn't so much the winning or losing, it is how the players play the game that matters to me. It might be a new era but if a player makes $5 or $6M per year, okay, but he should play as hard and as well as he can and stay out of the game's politics. If fans have found the game disappointing and boring in the past couple of years, it is not the game's fault; it is the owners and the agents who have created a bunch of primadonnas who don't give their best effort.

It can be (I think it still is) the national pastime and the grand old game.

Tribute to Tom Donaldson

I first met Tom Donaldson one morning at the front desk of the Atlantic News. He had retired, and wanted to write for us. That was ten years ago.

In that time Tom covered many meetings and events, writing news stories and business puffs for the paper. He faithfully reported on the goings-on (and, yes, sometimes the fireworks) that took place at selectmen's meetings in Hampton and Seabrook. He ardently covered his annual assignments at the Seafood Festival and during Seabrook Old Home Days. A devout Red Sox fan, he would begin baseball season with a timely commentary for the paper. He was a good writer, a good employee and a good friend.

However, Tom frequently had a problem with names. He almost always referred to former Governor Jeanne Shaheen as "Jean Sheehan." Hampton School Board Chairman John Woodburn was "Mr. Woodman." Most of the time, Liz, Betty, Nancy or Kathie would correct his mistakes. Only one time did a name mistake get past their watchful eye.

Tom had written a business piece. The owner's name was Don Jecka. Tom, however, called him "Jerka" all through his story — and that is exactly how it appeared after the paper was published. The client was not amused but Tom came to the rescue, sent a letter of apology and flowers, and all was forgiven.

Tom was the Atlantic News' representative to the Hampton Rotary Club, and a member of Post #35 of the American Legion. He loved attending the company's annual Christmas party -- he always called ahead of time to find out when it was scheduled. Whenever he stopped in at the Atlantic News office to pick up his check or drop off his articles, he always made sure to snag a couple of starlight mints from the candy dish on the counter. More often than not, the mints were for his beloved canine companion, Sparky.

Last week was the last time I talked to Tom. He had called to find out if the rumors about the newspaper being sold were true, and if he still had a writing job. I told him that the only ones who were leaving were Howie and me. Sadly, Tom was the one who ended up leaving first. Opening day at Fenway Park will never be the same again.

Tom, thank you for everything that you brought to your Atlantic News family. We will truly miss you.