OBITUARY

Donald R. Wilkinson

May 14, 1961September 28, 2018
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Donald Robert Wilkinson, of Nahant, passed away at Care One Nursing Home in Peabody on the morning of September 28th after a three year battle with stomach cancer. Donnie, as most of us knew him, was born in Salem Massachusetts on Mother’s Day, May 14th, 1961.

He graduated from Beverly High School and received his BS degree in electronics engineering from Lowell University graduating Cum Laude. Much against the advice of some of his most trusted confidants Donnie left a secure and promising engineering career at GTE to pursue his real passion of singing. Proving his critics wrong he never looked back and would go on to become one of the best known baritone vocalists in the Boston area thrilling audiences across the United States and in many countries abroad with his extraordinary gift.

Enjoying a twenty eight year career at Emmanuel Music in Boston he held strong ties with Emmanuel Church for many years. He has performed at Symphony Hall in Boston and has taken on significant roles in various musicals and plays, Papageno in Mozart’s Magic Flute, Jesus in the St. Matthew Passion and Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas dance production in Brussels to name just a few. He had also been performing with the Boston Camerata since 1991. Along with his prolific stage career Donnie taught voice lessons for many years at Phillips Academy Andover and at Tufts and Harvard University. In 2014 he founded the Nahant Music Festival and served as its Artistic Director in the years that followed.

A Renaissance man of many talents Donnie loved skiing and had an intense enthusiasm for nature as an avid birder. Anyone who had the privilege of going on a guided birding tour with him was treated with a rich and rare education on many of our curious winged creatures. His knowledge of bird calls was uncanny. His passion for classic film memorabilia was also legendary, specializing in ‘I Love Lucy’ and ‘The Wizard of Oz’ mementos that sadly he couldn’t take with him.

Donnie will be deeply missed by all the family and friends who loved him for the amazing person and incredible artist he was. It is so hard to imagine his rich elegant voice now silenced. God must have wanted him pretty badly to take him from us so soon. His boundless spirit will surely live on in those he has left behind.

Donnie is survived by his mom, Amy Leck of Marblehead; a brother Steven Wilkinson, his wife Karen, and two nephews Robert and Morgan all of Breckenridge, Colorado; a sister Kacia Wilkinson of Braintree; brother Donald Leck, and sisters Christine Wells and Janice Turner all of New Hampshire; aunts Barbara Kutz of Somerset, and Johanne Johnson of North Carolina; an uncle David Collins of Topsfield; uncle Richard Collins of Georgetown; and lastly but no less important to Donnie two cats named Sushi and Cashew, now in a new home in North Carolina with Aunt Johanne.

A memorial service will be held at St. Stephen’s Methodist Church, 67 Cornell Road, Marblehead, on Saturday, November 3rd at 11:30 AM. A reception at the Philanthropic Masonic Lodge, 62 Pleasant Street in Marblehead will follow the service. Burial in Greenlawn Cemetery, Nahant will be at a later time. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to sustain the Nahant Music Festival - which Don considered his greatest legacy- at www.nahantmusicfestival.org (or P.O. Box 197, Nahant, MA 01910) or to the American Cancer Society. Arrangements by Eustis and Cornell of Marblehead.

  • FAMILY

  • AMY LECK, Mother
  • STEVEN WILKINSON, Brother

Services

  • Memorial Service Saturday, November 3, 2018
REMEMBERING

Donald R. Wilkinson

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Janis Luedke

November 6, 2018

I didn't really know Donald, but I remember him best when he was one of four soloists for a Dedham Choral Society concert. I stood with the rest of the chorale, looking down at his back as he stood with the other soloists facing an empty church during dress rehearsal. When they weren't singing, they were messing around and had some inside joke that kept them laughing most of the time. I remember it made me laugh too, at their camaraderie. Donald had such a wonderful, rich, confident voice, and I was always happy to see him when he showed up to be a soloist for us. I will miss him, and I am so sad for your loss and ours.

Regards,
Janis Luedke, DCS Alto

Barbara Kutz

October 21, 2018

Alice Robbins

October 20, 2018

I feel enriched by performances I was honored to share with Don, from Bach Passions in Sanders Theater to Camerata tours in the southwest, onstage in Symphony Hall, at Emmanuel Church and New England Bach, the last time in Randolph, Vt three years ago. I am deeply sorry for everyone's loss and will contribute to the Nahant Festival, Don's labor of love to young singers.

Ruth O'Hara Montville

October 18, 2018

Amy, please know that my thoughts are with you and your family at this very difficult time.
May you seek peace in knowing that Donald will be sharing his wonderful gift of music with the choir in Heaven.
Ruthie (O'Hara) Montville
Salem, MA

Bob Baker

October 16, 2018

Donald's wonderful voice was an expression of his wonderful nature.

Bob Baker

Marlene Miller Cohen O’Brien

October 15, 2018

Hi Amy,
I just read about Donald’s passing... I know he was your beloved son.
My thoughts are with you and your family. Please take care. Your friend, Marlene (Miller) Cohen O’Brien.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

Biography

Donald Robert Wilkinson, of Nahant, passed away at Care One Nursing Home in Peabody on the morning of September 28th after a three year battle with stomach cancer. Donnie, as most of us knew him, was born in Salem Massachusetts on Mother’s Day, May 14th, 1961.

He graduated from Beverly High School and received his BS degree in electronics engineering from Lowell University graduating Cum Laude. Much against the advice of some of his most trusted confidants Donnie left a secure and promising engineering career at GTE to pursue his real passion of singing. Proving his critics wrong he never looked back and would go on to become one of the best known baritone vocalists in the Boston area thrilling audiences across the United States and in many countries abroad with his extraordinary gift.

Enjoying a twenty eight year career at Emmanuel Music in Boston he held strong ties with Emmanuel Church for many years. He has performed at Symphony Hall in Boston and has taken on significant roles in various musicals and plays, Papageno in Mozart’s Magic Flute, Jesus in the St. Matthew Passion and Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas dance production in Brussels to name just a few. He had also been performing with the Boston Camerata since 1991. Along with his prolific stage career Donnie taught voice lessons for many years at Phillips Academy Andover and at Tufts and Harvard University. In 2014 he founded the Nahant Music Festival and served as its Artistic Director in the years that followed.

A Renaissance man of many talents Donnie loved skiing and had an intense enthusiasm for nature as an avid birder. Anyone who had the privilege of going on a guided birding tour with him was treated with a rich and rare education on many of our curious winged creatures. His knowledge of bird calls was uncanny. His passion for classic film memorabilia was also legendary, specializing in ‘I Love Lucy’ and ‘The Wizard of Oz’ mementos that sadly he couldn’t take with him.

Donnie will be deeply missed by all the family and friends who loved him for the amazing person and incredible artist he was. It is so hard to imagine his rich elegant voice now silenced. God must have wanted him pretty badly to take him from us so soon. His boundless spirit will surely live on in those he has left behind.

Donnie is survived by his mom, Amy Leck of Marblehead; a brother Steven Wilkinson, his wife Karen, and two nephews Robert and Morgan all of Breckenridge, Colorado; a sister Kacia Wilkinson of Braintree; brother Donald Leck, and sisters Christine Wells and Janice Turner all of New Hampshire; aunts Barbara Kutz of Somerset, and Johanne Johnson of North Carolina; an uncle David Collins of Topsfield; uncle Richard Collins of Georgetown; and lastly but no less important to Donnie two cats named Sushi and Cashew, now in a new home in North Carolina with Aunt Johanne.

A memorial service will be held at St. Stephen’s Methodist Church, 67 Cornell Road, Marblehead, on Saturday, November 3rd at 11:30 AM. A reception at the Philanthropic Masonic Lodge, 62 Pleasant Street in Marblehead will follow the service. Burial in Greenlawn Cemetery, Nahant will be at a later time. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to sustain the Nahant Music Festival - which Don considered his greatest legacy- at www.nahantmusicfestival.org (or P.O. Box 197, Nahant, MA 01910) or to the American Cancer Society. Arrangements by Eustis and Cornell of Marblehead.