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Donald Harrington

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Donald Harrington

Prepared by Katie Harrington

Don was born to Paul and Louise Harrington in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1941. He was the oldest of four children including Larry, Mary-Louise and Tom. They moved to Tucson, Arizona, when Don was 7 years old. He died May 30 at 82.

He loved the desert and maintained a lifelong connection to Sabino Canyon in Arizona. Don was a yo-yo champion as a teenager and in his early 20s spent much of his time skydiving. He graduated from the University of Arizona in 1962.

Don attended Marquette Medical School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He met his wife, Mary, during medical school. They moved to Minneapolis in 1967 for a radiology residency at the University of Minneapolis VA Health Care System Hospital. Their daughter, Anne, was born there in 1970.

The family moved to Baltimore, Maryland, where Don had a faculty position performing interventionist procedures at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Their daughter, Katie, was born in 1973. In 1979, the family moved to Newton, Massachusetts, where Don became an associate professor and began a faculty position at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Don and Mary moved to Old Field in 1991. Don became the chairman of radiology as well as a professor at Stony Brook University Hospital. He worked as a science adviser for the National Institutes of Health and received a master’s degree in informatics from Columbia University.

Don was eager for travel and adventure. He and Mary lived in Manhattan as well as Long Island, enjoying friendship and culture. They traveled to Italy, Spain, Portugal, Patagonia and Alaska and continually returned to Cape Cod, Massachusetts. 

Don was diagnosed with multiple systems atrophy, a form of Parkinson’s. He was able to live at home as the disease progressed because of the exquisite care of Mary and his live-in aide, Stanley. 

Don was uniquely loving, tender and smart. With limited mobility, he was less physically able but no less powerful. He maintained a keen awareness of life until he died.