Donald A. Mothes

Donald A. Mothes, 82, died early Friday morning, July 20, at Maine Medical Center in Portland.


Born October 6, 1935, in Malden, Massachusetts, the son of Carl and Lillian Mothes, Don grew up as the youngest of three brothers, developing lifelong interests in nature and landscapes, gardening, classical music and opera, art, American history, and reading.


Don’s family later moved to Manchester, N.H., where Don graduated from West High School in 1953. At West, he excelled in academics; participated in art, yearbook and drama; and played clarinet in the high school band, receiving state recognition.


In 1958, Don married Joan Ramsay, who he met at popular weekend dances in Manchester. They were married for 37 years and had one son, James Barry Mothes, born in 1963, who lives in Portland and is an English teacher and hockey coach at Greely High School in Cumberland, Maine.


After taking courses at the University of New Hampshire in advanced mathematics and correspondent courses in technical drafting and engineering, Don worked for many years as a technical draftsman for Honeywell in Manchester, N.H., and later Jewell Instruments. In the late-1970s, Don built on his lifelong love for nature and landscape and founded Evergreen Landscaping, a business he sustained for several years.


Don moved to Portland in 1995 with life-threatening pancreatitis. To be closer to his son, he was moved from a hospital in Manchester to Maine Medical Center, where he underwent additional surgeries and recovered after months of rehabilitation.


Over the past 23 years, Don has lived in Yarmouth, Scarborough, and Portland. He lived at Seventy-Five State Street in Portland from 2001 until 2014. Since 2014, he lived at St. Joseph’s Residence on Washington Avenue in Portland.


Don enjoyed spending time along the coast, particularly at Fort Williams, Two Lights, Scarborough Beach, and Pine Point, and eating classic New England seafoods. He enjoyed attending classical music performances of the Portland Symphony Orchestra at Merrill Auditorium, as well as listening to classical music every day on a stereo or radio. He loved nature, particularly flowers, shrubs and bushes, and trees, and the changing colors of the leaves each fall. In earlier years, Don also enjoyed skiing, tennis, hiking, and visiting places of historical interest.


One of the most rewarding experiences in Don’s life was pastel painting, which he started in the early 2000s. Over the years, Don created many Maine and New Hampshire-inspired landscapes and coastal scenes. He had one-man shows at the Congress Street Coffee by Design and the Portland Public Library. His work was also selected and shown through Maine’s Very Special Artists (VSA) program, which focuses on art and artmaking for people with disabilities. In 2007, his piece “Kancamagus Highway” was selected for a juried show at the State Capitol in Augusta, which included a welcome reception at the Blaine House.


Don is survived by his son, James Barry Mothes and his daughter-in-law, Anne Tommaso of Portland, Maine; and a sister-in-law and four nieces and a nephew living in and around Manchester, N.H. His former wife, Joan Mothes, 84, lives in Manchester, N.H.


Don and his son, Barry, gratefully thank the staff and residents at St Joseph’s Residence, particularly the Unit A staff and Dr. Richard Marino; Aaron Dunn-Hoffman; Dr. David M. Johnson; Candance Kingsley; the staffs at Seventy-Five State Street and Maine Medical Center, and all our friends and family for their loving support, care, and friendship over these years.


A memorial celebration of Don’s life will be held, Thursday, Aug. 2, at 1:30 pm, at St. Joseph’s Residence at 1133 Washington Avenue in Portland. Family and friends are also invited to a burial and graveside service that will be held at the Pine Grove Cemetery in Manchester, N.H., at 10:00 am on Saturday, Aug. 4, with a reception to follow directly afterwards.

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