Donald McLeod Frothingham | Obituary

July 7, 1928 – September 1, 2022

Donald McLeod Frothingham died on Sept 1, 2022 of natural causes at age 94. He was born on July 7, 1928 in Darien, CT. Although he struggled with asthma as a child, he enjoyed most days rowing in Scott’s Cove with his dog, Goldie. He started painting as a teenager, initially boats and birds, and later metaphysical abstract landscapes. He got his BA and MA in Architecture at Harvard University in the 1950s, while serving as a commissioned officer in the Naval Reserve. He then spent a year in Switzerland working as an architect, selling his paintings, and making lifelong friends.

In 1960 he met Ann VanAlstyne in Seattle, and they married in 1962. He was a partner at Fred Bassetti & Co until 1974, working on schools, private homes, and the Congregational Church on Mercer Island. As chief of design on the Henry M. Jackson Federal Building in Seattle, he was particularly proud of preserving the arch on 2nd avenue, as well as other salvaged terra cotta pieces incorporated into the design.

When his daughters were in elementary school, Donald took time off from architecture to act as a “house husband”—making breakfasts and lunches for his family, and painting full time. He was very active in his community, serving for decades as the chairman of the Mercer Island Planning Commission and later the Design Commission, as well as chaperoning junior high and high school ski buses. When it was time to pay for colleges, he returned to architecture as an associate to ARC in Seattle, designing tribal centers and housing for many local tribes.

Donald loved music and dancing, bird- watching, camping, whitewater canoeing, his dogs and cats, and rescuing spiders from bathtubs. He had a gift for friendship and story-telling. He valued being “conscious”— aware and respectful of the web of life around him. He had a radiant spirit and relished life, choosing to focus always on the positive.

Predeceased by his parents, step-parents, brother and sister, Donald is survived by Ann, his wife of 60 years, his daughters Moll and Em (Ram), his grandson Milo, and many beloved nieces and nephews.