Donald Allan Millard III, 61, passed away on Tuesday, May 16, 2023, at Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Newton Massachusetts. He had not been ill but died of a sudden anoxic brain injury.
Donnie was born in Boston on March 24, 1962, to Donald A. Millard Jr. and Catherine C. Millard, and grew up in the town of Lincoln. He was autistic and non-verbal, and received educational support through the public school system and private schools until he was 18. Since then, he received vocational training, job placement and job coaching from Autism Services Association in Wellesley and Waltham. He worked at Shaws/Star Market for over 30 years, and at Demoulas Market Basket for eight years. He lived in a small group home in Bedford, managed by Cooperative for Human Services of Lexington.
At a very early age, Donnie showed musical ability. He could pick out tunes on the piano, and he sang – without words. Classical music was his favorite, but he loved folk music and the Beatles as well, and he would dance to recordings. His CD collection was huge – Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony was a real favorite. He was still taking weekly lessons with a music therapist at Powers Music School in Belmont.
Years ago, his parents bought a summer house on the beach in Hull because Donnie loved to swim – he swam underwater in the pool his father had built at his grandparents’ house in Lincoln, but he especially loved the beach, where he could run free, and body surf in the waves.
Autistic people are seen as lacking relationship skills and are not responsive even to the affection of their parents. While this was true of Donnie as a small child, he obviously grew in affection toward his parents, his sisters, and others in his world. He always greeted us with delight and enjoyed his holidays with us. He was a happy man. He seemed to illustrate Sigmund Freud’s belief that every man needs his love and his work.
Donnie is survived by his parents, Donald Millard Jr. and Catherine C. Millard of Lincoln, and by his sisters, Ann Lindsay Clinton of Hull and Carol C. Millard of Lexington.
Family and friends are all invited to gather for visiting hours on Tuesday, May 30,, from 4 to 7 PM at Dee Funeral Home, 27 Bedford Street, Concord. There will be no funeral services. Burial on Wednesday, May 31, in the Lincoln Cemetery, will be private.
In lieu of flowers, please make a charitable contribution in Donnie’s name: Autism Services Association Inc., 47 Walnut St., Wellesley Hills MA 02481 (www.autismservicesassociation.org) or Cooperative for Human Services, Inc. 420 Bedford St., Suite 100, Lexington MA 02420 (www.cooperativeforhs.org) would be especially meaningful choices.
Arrangements are entrusted to Dee Funeral Home & Cremation Service of Concord. For Donnie’s online guestbook, please visit www.DeeFuneralHome.com.