Don Patrick Sturdy

February 10, 1955February 5, 2021

For years, it seemed everyone in Greater Boston’s arts and culinary communities knew Don Sturdy.

He was born and raised a musically inclined child in western New York, who took an early interest in singing, and cooking with his great-grandmother, and later left home to pursue a vocal music degree from Ithaca College. Armed with a sweet, strong tenor, he moved to Boston and carved out a lengthy, highlight-filled career in the regional performing arts, flavored with a warm, welcoming personality that turned everyone he met into a friend.

Sturdy passed away February 5 at 65, after a brief hospitalization.

Sturdy was an assistant managing director at Cambridge’s American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) where he arranged operations for local productions and international tours. He worked at ArtsBoston, first as Deputy Director then rising to Executive Director. Sturdy was responsible for a significant expansion of the non-profit arts marketing organization, including the planning and construction of a second BosTix half-price-ticket booth that still stands in Copley Square.

Don served the arts-going public again at the Wang Theater, first as its treasurer and then its House Manager, leading the team that ensured visitors a great experience in the historic theater. Later, as Boston Ballet’s Director of Artistic Operations, he oversaw the producing side of performances, from wardrobe to production, and handled daily operations for the company.

Throughout his 40-plus years in Greater Boston, Don sang in the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Tanglewood Festival Chorus. He never sought the spotlight but it often found him -- performing at Tanglewood and the Boston Pops Fourth of July and Holiday concerts, singing backup in a James Taylor video, or being featured in a New York Times story alongside longtime friend David B. Waters, with whom he purchased a mirror-image, two-family Cambridge duplex that boasted decidedly different decor on either side. With its extensive garden, their welcoming home became a decades-long hub of theater parties, fundraisers, and other celebrations. Don was charitably minded, too, having produced fundraising events for Community Servings and the AIDS Walk in Boston.

Don enjoyed a second career in hospitality as the ever-friendly face at the host stand of Cambridge’s beloved Oleana restaurant. He made celebrities, dignitaries, and everyday diners alike feel like they always got the best table in the place. Don also enjoyed part-time work at Siena Farms’ open-air market and its two retail locations.

Don leaves behind hundreds of friends from throughout his life, and family members including a sister Leonora Sturdy Bularzik, her husband Joe, and their children Nicholas and Kirstin. He will be interred in Skaneateles, New York. Donations can be made to Community Servings: or to Thomas L. Derrah Fund for Emerging Artists at the Speakeasy Stage Company:


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Don Patrick Sturdy

have a memory or condolence to add?

John Kuntz

March 2, 2021

I had the good fortune to meet Don thru my husband, Tommy Derrah, who considered Don one of his dearest friends. They are both gone far too soon, and I know they are laughing together somewhere.

Michael Kayes

February 24, 2021

Don along with his brother Bob were childhood friends. Whenever we got together a game of baseball usually followed. You will be missed my friend.

Lorraine Butler

February 23, 2021

He is now resting in peace

Henry Lussier

February 22, 2021

My closest friend for 40 years. His humor, amazing laugh, deep understanding, and generous love made me a better and always happier man.

Michael Zuckerman

February 20, 2021

Jan and I knew Don for a long time. He was a great friend and a truly remarkable person. Our thoughts are with Lenny and her family. We will all miss him. May his memory be a blessing.

Jan Levine amd Michael Zuckerman

Jim Courtemanche

February 20, 2021

Don was a kind, funny, and talented person. His lovely tenor voice will grace the heavenly choir. My condolences to his family and close friends.

Joanne Scheuble

February 16, 2021

Don's life was rich with friendships but he is the one who made our lives richer with his kindness, humor and love. He adored his sister and her family, and his close circle of friends who were like family: David, Joan, Henry and others. Many like me, shared his passion for music/the arts, food (Cosmos!) and fun. I will always cherish his friendship and his love. Rest in peace, dear friend.

Paula Folkman

February 15, 2021

My deepest sympathy to Don's beloved sister and her family. What a lovely, lovely man...and a good friend. (I was in TFC for 36 years) The world was better because he was in it.

Callahan McBride

February 12, 2021

Don was an extraordinary person whose friendship transcended age or generation. He had an uncanny ability to make others feel like the most special person in his world. I’ll never forget his impromptu cooking lessons and his hugs. A bright light is missing from the world without him here, but we will feel his presence. I’ll always cherish our friendship. I love you, Don.

Paul Baker

February 10, 2021

So lucky to have known you Don...miss your impish and cheeky grin and our chats on the wall on Washington street:) Keep smiling that smile, wherever the heck you are!