Donald. M. Gillett, 90

April 05, 2010

APRIL 8, 1919-APRIL 3, 2010

Donald. M. Gillett, age 90, of 260 S. Prospect St., Hagerstown, Md., passed away Saturday, April 3, 2010, in Hagerstown.

Don was born April 8, 1919, in Southwick Mass. After the death of his father when Don was 13, his mother remarried and they moved to Washington, D.C., where he attended Wilson High School and later the University of Maryland, where he graduated with a degree in business administration. He also served four years in the Army Air Corps, stationed in Midland, Texas, where he served as a chaplain's assistant. He also played organ for services on "folding field organs and the mighty Hammond" as quoted.

Don's musical interest started when he was four years old, his parents having taken him to a number of organ recitals at the Municipal Auditorium in Springfield Mass. He started piano lessons at six years old with Dorothy Mulroney who was the organist at the Municipal Auditorium. After moving to Washington, D.C., he studied piano and organ with Lewis Atwater, a well-known Washington, D.C. musician, who was organist at All Souls Unitarian Church and also Washington Hebrew Congregation. Don's interest in organ building also started with the study of the organ.


His first job was with Lewis & Hitchcock in Washington, D.C. Four years later he was hired at Aeolian-Skinner with a desire to learn voicing and tonal finishing, working under G. Donald Harrison and Herbert Pratt. In later years, Don became a vice president and head tonal finisher. Upon the retirement of Joseph Whiteford in 1968, Don was offered the opportunity to buy up controlling interest in Aeolian-Skinner, and then became president and tonal director.

In the early 1970s, Aeolian-Skinner was building the last three jobs, St. Bartholomew's NYC, Trinity Wall Street and Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. The company was then sold.

In March of 1972 Riley Daniels offered Don a job at Moller as head flue voicer. After the death of John Hose, he became tonal director, and eventually a vice president. Don retired from Moller in 1991.

Don Gillett was also an avid art collector and had a large art collection. He served on the Board of Directors of the Washington County (MD) Museum of Fine Arts.

He is survived by his companion of 40 years, Warren S.Goding of Hagerstown; sister-in-law, Jane Mace of Palm City, Fla., and cousin, Mary Davis of Fort Lee, N.J.

He was preceded in death by his brothers, Kenneth and Thorton.

A memorial event will be announced at a future date.

Arrangements have been entrusted to the Douglas A. Fiery Funeral Home, 1331 Eastern Blvd. North, Hagerstown.

Memorial donations may be made to the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, P.O. Box 423, City Park, Hagerstown, MD 21741.

Online condolences may be expressed at

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