Donald A. Fahey

NO. 17545  •  7 Jan 1927 – 21 Feb 2002

Died in Providence, RI
Interred in Gate of Heaven Cemetery, East Providence, RI

Donald Aloysious Fahey was born and raised in Belmont, MA. His father was an attorney and his mother was a graduate of Radcliffe College. In 1944, at age 17, Don graduated from Belmont High School and immediately entered Harvard University on a scholarship. He completed his freshman year before being inducted into the Army in 1945.

In early 1946, upon earning a competitive appointment to West Point from Representative Edith Nourse Rogers, Don was reassigned from the Philippines to the U.S. Military Academy preparatory program at Amherst College and entered the Corps of Cadets that July.

Don sailed effortlessly through academics and had ample time for lots of intellectual outside reading. His acumen and approach to academics were outstanding and worthy of emulation by all with whom he came in contact. He readily assisted less knowledgeable classmates in their studies and preparation for daily recitations and exams. His ability to explain a difficult problem and its resolution helped many "goat" classmates pull their grades up to the Academic Department standards.

Don starred in intramural boxing as a plucky "lighter than air" contestant, and he served in the Catholic Chapel as an acolyte and lay reader. First Class year, Don was elected to serve as a member of the Honor Committee, a key organization charged with upholding the standards on the Corps of Cadets and indoctrinating the new Plebe class with the Academy's motto of "Duty, Honor, Country." His performance on this committee was exemplary. Always a levelheaded and quick thinker, his subtle, wry humor often gave pause to those who might start speaking before thinking.

Early on, Don demonstrated high principles and a steadfast adherence to his beliefs and loyalties. He was unyielding in his support for the hapless Boston Braves, who eventually fled the hub for Milwaukee and Atlanta. He was in his glory in the days of "Spahn and Sain, then pray for rain."

At graduation, Don chose the Cavalry branch. His first assignment was to Europe with the 14th Armored Cavalry Regiment, charged with screening and defending the area west of the Fulda Gap. This was a tough job, but they must have done it well because the communist hordes never tried to force the issue. During this period of alerts, border patrols, and bachelor living, Don proposed long distance to Alice Mary Koehler, the younger sister of a classmate. On 31 Mar 1951, they were wed in Friedberg, Germany.

Returning home, Don and Alice spent three years at Ft. Meade, MD, and Camp Pickett, VA, with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, followed by Don's unaccompanied tour in Korea. On his return, the family moved to Hanover, NH, where Don was assigned as an assistant professor of military science and tactics at Dartmouth for four years. Then they went back across the Atlantic to Bavaria for service in the 15th Cavalry and the 7th Army Training Center at Vilseck. After three years, they moved to Ft. Knox, KY. From 1965 to 1967, he served on the Reserve Officer Training Corps staff at Providence College, his final military duty. During this assignment, Don and Alice purchased a comfortable home in Barrington, near Narragansett Bay.

Over the years, from 1952 to 1963, Don and Alice's children-Elizabeth, Donald, Alice, Catherine, Mary, Michael, Margaret, and Richard-rose to occupy places at the Fahey dinner table and provide vitality and life to the home. Each was an outstanding young person and a source of pride to their parents.

When Don completed 20 years of military service, he retired so he could generate the income to educate his children, who were nearing college age. He entered the high-tech computer world as a programmer for John Hancock, and in his spare time returned to college, working toward a degree in history.

As the children finished college, found gainful employment, and married, the home in Barrington slowly began to empty. Not surprisingly, it took over ten years, but the day came when the extended family was spread within relatively easy reach across a 200-mile arc around Barrington. Don and Alice entered a well-deserved retirement and switched to gardening, relaxing, fulminating over politics and, on the side, running a mobile babysitting service for grandchildren. Annual family gatherings were a ritual and a joy for all involved.

In retirement, Don exhibited all the qualities of human understanding, loyalty, devotion, perception, and fairness that had typified his conduct and behavior throughout his life. He loved Alice, his extended family and his classmates-and he continued to love the Braves.

A devoted Catholic, Don lived a true Christian life and did his utmost to follow the Golden Rule. In his final years, his health began to slip. He returned to his Maker in the cold month of February. A true gentleman in every respect, he is sorely missed. Alice continues to reside in their comfortable home in Barrington, where Don's vibrant voice still greets callers on the answering machine. Their brood is a comfort to her and relatively near at hand in the Northeast United States.