Donald MacGillivray Obituary

Donald P. MacGillivray
Donald P. MacGillivray

August 30, 1933 - June 16, 2017
Born in Boston, MA.
Resided in Belmont, MA
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Donald Paul MacGillivray, 83, of Belmont, MA passed away Friday, June 16, 2017. He was born on August 30, 1933, in Boston, MA, to Albert and Katherine MacGillivray. He grew up in Roslindale and West Roxbury along with his older brother Albert, Jr.
Don graduated from Boston College High School in 1951. He then attended New England School of Art from 1951-1953. From there, he entered the Cardinal O'Connell Seminary, where he spent two years studying for the priesthood. He determined that this was not the path he wanted, and decided to continue to study art. He went back to New England School of Art in 1955, where he finished the program he had begun four years earlier. In 1956, he activated himself from the reserves to the army and served for two years in a non-combat role as a guided missile crew chief in California. After returning from the army, he worked for a couple of art studios and printing companies where he gained experience with advertising layout and design. Eventually, he settled at James B. Rendle Associates of Malden, an advertising agency, where he was in charge of all design responsibilities.
Don continued his education when he enrolled in the psychology program at Northeastern University. This led to him studying for his masters degree in social work at Boston College. After earning his degree, Don became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, specializing in individual and couples therapy. This was the career that he spent the rest of his life dedicated to, setting up a private practice that moved from Waltham, to North Andover, to Andover, and eventually ending up in Belmont.
Therapy became the focus of much of his energy, passion, and art. Don was a thoughtful, empathic, and insightful person and therapist. He maintained that a good therapist's job was not to tell others how to live, but to hold up a mirror, and give people insight and awareness about what they were going through. He had a number of clients that came to see him for many years, a real testament to the power of the work he dedicated himself to. Don's health had waned over the past six years, starting when he suffered a major stroke in the fall of 2011. Despite this, he continued to see clients up until his death, and continued to touch people's lives in a positive way.
He loved art and music, and sang for years as part of the Mystic Chorale, where he made a number of deep connections with other members. He regularly attended concerts and had an encyclopedic knowledge of music from the big band era.
He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Jed, his son, Michael, his daughter-in-law, Sarah, and granddaughter Rory, as well as extended family and countless others whose lives he touched. He will be greatly missed.
In celebration of his life, a memorial party will be held at the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library at 33 Marrett Rd in Lexington, MA on Saturday, July 8th from 12-5pm. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Pine Street Inn (

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Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library
33 Merritt Road
Lexington, MA US 02478
Saturday, July 8, 2017
12:00 PM - 5:00 PM


Brown & Sons Funeral Home • William T. Hickey & Son Funeral Home
36 Trapelo Road, Belmont, Massachusetts
617-484-2534 • 617-547-1500
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