An Obituary: Donald F. Mead

July 5, 2023

Donald F. Mead of Burlington and formerly of Bedford, a retired Lieutenant of the Bedford Fire Department and Arborist, died on June 29, 2023 – his 91st birthday.

Don was born June 29, 1932, the son of the late Louis Mead and late Mary Ellen (Smiley) Mead. He grew up in Arlington and graduated from Arlington High School, Class of 1951. Shortly after graduating, he entered the United States Army where he served as a Private First Class. After his service, he attended UMass Amherst where he graduated with a degree in Arboriculture. 

Through the years, Don worked as an Arborist for his brothers at Mead Brother’s Tree Service of Bedford and for Harvard Tree Service of Harvard. He began serving on the Bedford Fire Department in 1962 where he achieved the rank of Lieutenant and retired after 32 years with the department, all while he continued to work as an Arborist.

He was a parishioner of Saint Malachy Catholic Church in Burlington where he attended Mass every week. He loved his parish and planted two beautiful flowering trees in the front, where he’ll always be remembered.

Don was an icon in the Town of Bedford from helping plow the town during the Blizzard of ’78, filling Page Field with water to make two ice skating rinks each winter, to serving his community whenever the chance arrived.

Donald F. Mead

One of Don’s greatest loves was his garden. Since his days in Bedford to his residence in Burlington, Don grew everything from tomatoes, to garlic, corn, sweet potatoes, squash, peas and of course, zucchini.

His cooking skills could match that of Martha Stewart as he made THE best blueberry, apple and lemon meringue pies (yes, homemade crust), zucchini bread and zucchini relish. He grew grapes and made jelly and juice. His yard was always perfectly landscaped. He also loved playing Bingo and going to the casinos. His favorite games were Let it Ride and Joker Poker.

He meet many of his favorite celebrities (Big Papi, Pedro Martinez, Drew Carey and most recently, Roger Clemens). He travelled to Aruba, Las Vegas, and to the Caribbean on several cruise ships, but his all-time favorite place was in Maine where he spent several summers with the DeWitt family and his sister-in-law Ruth Colebrooke.

But Don’s great love of all was his family and friends. The second youngest of 10 children, he adored all his siblings. He would reminisce with a smile from ear-to-ear about his brothers Bob, Bill and Tom, as well as his sisters Ruth, Marion, Patty and Pauline. He adored his first wife, the late Fran (Hamilton) Mead, as well as his second wife, the late Jeannette (Fitzpatrick) Mead. He cherished all his nieces and nephews.

Wherever he lived, he loved his neighbors and would help if needed. And most of all, his pride and joy were his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

Don was the loving father of Patricia Dugas and her husband James of Pepperrell, Donna Dickerson and her husband Steve of Pepperell, and David Mead of Pepperell, Donald J. Mead and his wife Michelle of Merrimac, MA and the late Jack Bradley and Michael Bradley. He is also survived by Angela Cross, Maureen White and her husband Kevin, Phyllis Shannon and her husband Anthony, all of Boston.

Loving grandfather of 17 and great grandfather of two; he is also survived by several nieces and nephews. 

Visiting hours will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 6 in Shawsheen Funeral Home.

The funeral from Shawsheen Funeral Home, 282 Great Rd., Bedford at 9 a.m. on Friday, July 7 will be followed by a Funeral Mass at 10 a.m. in St. Malachy Church, 99 Bedford St., Burlington. Burial to follow at 1 p.m. in the Massachusetts Memorial Veterans Cemetery, 111 Glenallen St., Winchendon.

In lieu of flowers, Don would prefer you spend your money, and more importantly time, with your loved ones.

Click here for the complete announcement.

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