Donald Spaulding
Donald Spaulding
Donald Spaulding
Donald Spaulding
Donald Spaulding
Donald Spaulding

Obituary of Donald C Spaulding

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Donald C. Spaulding, known as Don, an acclaimed painter of the historical American West and a 59-year resident of Pound Ridge NY, passed away peacefully on Saturday, September 25th 2021 at the age of 95 at his home. As recently as this past August at a party celebrating his landmark birthday with family and friends at his side, he expressed how blessed he has been to have lived a really wonderful life. Don was born on August 8th 1926 to the late Clifford Lee and Ethel Florence Spaulding (nee Fisher) in Brooklyn, NY who Don would often describe as loving and supportive parents. Along with his parents and older brother Douglas, who pre-deceased him in 1970, Don would move first to Jamaica Queens, NY and later to Hartsdale, NY. Don loved to draw from the time he could hold a pencil. From a young age he was passionate about art and a devotee of the great American illustrators whose paintings would grace the covers and interiors of national magazines that were delivered each week by mail to the family’s home. Of these magazines, Don would eagerly await the arrival of the Saturday Evening Post to see if the issue featured a cover painting by one of his all-time favorite illustrators, Norman Rockwell. Rockwell and other artists would become his heroes and Don knew early on he wanted to be a painter and storyteller. Growing up he also loved history and was fascinated by stories about the American West featuring cowboy and native American life as well as tales of the US Cavalry during the post-Civil War period. Don was a child of the Great Depression of the 1930’s and came of age during WWII, graduating from White Plains, NY High School before being drafted into the US Army the week prior to Christmas 1944. Don served in the Pacific Theatre and was part of the U.S. Occupational Forces following Japan’s unconditional surrender on September 2nd 1945 During his service to his country, Don achieved the rank of Tech Sargent and was honorably discharged on November 25th 1946. After returning home, Don would go on to follow his love of art and pursue his dream of becoming an illustrator, attending the world-renown Art Students League in New York on the GI Bill. While there he studied with celebrated illustrators and instructors William C. McNulty, Robert Beverly Hale, and Frank Vincent Dumond, During this period Don’s love affair with the U.S. Cavalry and the American West really blossomed into full flower in 1949 after watching director John Ford’s epic Western She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and this would prove to be a watershed moment that later influenced his career choices as an artist. Another seminal moment in Don’s life occurred the following year. During the spring session of 1950 Don was presented with a unique opportunity and honor. He was one of only 5 students who were invited to study with Norman Rockwell for the summer at his studio in West Arlington, VT. This amazing experience would mark the beginning of a lifelong friendship with Rockwell that would last until the great illustrator’s passing in 1978 and his mentorship would influence the rest of Don’s career and life. Shortly after his time studying with Rockwell, Don graduated from The Art Students League beginning his commercial illustration career working in New York City where he was first able to combine his passions for painting and the love for the American West when he was hired by Dell to create cover art for The Lone Ranger series. Not long afterwards, Don met his future wife, Colette J. Saphier, who also grew up in Hartsdale, NY and the two were later married at St. Pius X Catholic Church, Scarsdale, NY. The couple soon moved to Pound Ridge, NY where they had two sons, Jeff and Scott to whom Don was a loving and dedicated father. For the next 25 years, Don continued to work as a successful commercial illustrator. In 1976 he decided it was time to follow his dreams and converge his love of painting with his passion for the historical American West. Moving from commercial to fine art, he soon became accomplished working in that genre and like Rockwell became well-known for the storytelling and human aspect of the scenes he depicted combined with the historical accuracy and the attention to detail he would bring to all his paintings. During his career Don was honored with numerous awards and his paintings have appeared on the covers of national magazines, in prestigious galleries across the country and are part of the permanent collections of several museums including the West Point Museum, NY; Fort Riley Cavalry Museum, Kansas, and the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville, Georgia. In addition to his work as a painter, Don along with his wife Colette enjoyed collecting antiques and were founding members of the Pound Ridge Historical Society with Don designing one of the groups early logos and creating an illustrated map of his home town. He was known as a true gentleman and friend, a gifted storyteller with a great sense of humor who could find the lighter side in almost any situation. His handwriting was renowned for how remarkably neat it was and he was a gifted writer. Don was a proud, loving and supportive father and grandfather whose impact on his progeny will allow his spirit and legacy to live on. Don is the beloved husband of the late Colette J. Spaulding who pre-deceased him in 2020 and devoted father of Jeffrey D. Spaulding (Kristian) of Cos Cob CT and Scott D. Spaulding, who predeceased him in 1978, admiring father-in-law of Jeff’s wife Kristian, proud grandfather of Tyler S. Spaulding of NYC, NY, Catherine G. Spaulding, Elizabeth A. Spaulding and Allison C. Spaulding of Greenwich, CT. Don is the dear brother in law of Marlene Bencze (Antal) of Fairfield, CT, caring Uncle to nephew Antony Bencze (Lisa) of Mason, OH and nieces Ilona Zimmer (Mark) of Redding, CT and Christina Bencze of Fairfield, CT. Friends may call at Clark Associates Funeral Home 4 Woods Bridge Road, Katonah NY 10536 on Thursday, September 30th where visiting hours will be held between 4-8pm. A grave side service and internment will be at Pound Ridge Cemetery, Pound Ridge NY on Friday, October 1 st at 11am where Don will be laid to rest next to two of his beloved, wife Colette and son Scott in the family plot. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 22478 Oklahoma City, OK 73123/www.cancer.org or Fans 4 the Cure at https://fansforthecure.org/donate

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