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Joseph Donald Silva

Oct 22, 2021

Joseph Donald Silva died on Tuesday October 19th 2021 at Portsmouth Regional Hospital from complications of pneumonia. His passing, painless and peaceful, held firmly in the hands of family. Donald is survived by Lucy Niles Silva, his loving wife of 64 years, their four children, Maria M. & Ken Dzierzek of Topsfield, Mass, Joseph A Silva of Northwood, NH, Paul F & Donna JC Silva of Mont Vernon, NH, and Amanda S & Jeffrey Thacher of Stratham, NH, eight grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Donald was born on January 19, 1935 in Lowell, Massachusetts on Mammoth Road in an apartment above the Leponsie’s Drugstore during a snowstorm, to Edna Talbot & Joseph Maria Silva. The family moved to a camp on a pond in W. Chelmsford and shortly thereafter to an upstairs room of the Union Street Trowe Farm in Milford, NH. In 1937 they moved to 27 South St. and in 1938 to 8 Franklin St. Donald began school at the Milford Elementary School on Garden Street and the family moved to 60 Prospect Street in 1941.

He attended junior and senior high school years at Milford High School on Elm Street. Early trumpet lessons, beginning in the fifth grade, led to his playing in the MHS band.

Don played basketball on both the junior and varsity teams in high school. Senior year he starred in the leading role in the play Our Town by Thornton Wilder. He graduated in June of 1953 and that September entered the College of Liberal Arts at the University of New Hampshire at Durham.

While at UNH, he joined the Christian Association, Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, and read literature. In June of 1957, he received a BA degree in British Literature and his Army commission as 1st Lieutenant in the US Army, Army Intelligence. He and Lucy Alden Niles of Nashua, NH were married that same June. In August that year, he sailed to England spending three months on the Isles and touring the continent visiting Holland, Belgium, France, Switzerland, and Italy.

Upon returning to the States in the Fall of ’58, he and Lucy lived in Milford and worked in stone masonry around town, taught English in Manchester Central High, and as a Studio Director for WMUR-TV. The following year, he taught English at Nashua Junior High School, and at Westford Academy in 1960.

During the early 1960’s he entered the graduate school at UNH and subsequently was awarded the MA in British Literature in 1966. During this period he reported the news for the Milford Cabinet, Foster’s Daily Democrat, The Manchester Union Leader, and the UNH News Bureau. On March 10th 1966 at Ft Devens, MA he was honorably discharged from military service.

Don taught English at the UNH Thompson School in the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture from 1962 until retiring Professor Emeritus from the university in 2004.

He was the pastor of the New Castle Congregational Church, New Castle, NH from 1966 until 2000. In 2000 he moved to Northwood, NH to seventeen acres of land, a small cape home and barn called Ingreste. Don, a prolific writer, has penned novels, short stories, essays, news reports, and a play My Henry, about Henry David Thoreau.

A private family Christian burial will be held at Riverside Cemetery, Milford, NH. A memorial service at the New Castle Congregational Church, New Castle, NH, to be announced when a date is confirmed in the Spring. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Don’s memory may be made to New Castle Congregational Church, 65 Main Street, New Castle, NH 03854. Arrangements are in the care of Smith & Heald Funeral Home, 63 Elm Street, Milford. To share a memory of offer a condolence, please go to www.smith-heald.com