Remembering Don Osier
“Live a happy, healthy, productive life and help others do the same.”

Maine’s contra dance community lost a broad-smiling, thoughtful presence when Don Osier died on February 8. His partner, Sarah, sent us the obituary that is copied below. She explained that Don had cardiac bypass surgery this past October. In February he had surgery to correct what they thought was a relatively minor issue, but it became a major surgery and he died from complications. Don’s family is planning a celebration of his life in the spring.

On the dance floor, Don was an exemplar of gentlemanly behavior: considerate, polite, and courteous. He had a zesty swing, and delighted in sharing dancing with others (including his work colleagues, for whom he hosted a dance with the Franklin County Fiddlers upon his University of Maine retirement.)

After dancing was paused during the pandemic, Don occasionally emailed items of interest: podcasts about the human experience, songs with lyrics he found powerful, news of fellow dancers, and even an occasional photo. He valued connection, especially through singing and dancing in community with others.

There’s not always time between a do-si-do and allemande left to deeply acquaint ourselves with our fellow dancers — people who are complex, interesting, and multi-faceted. But when we take the time, we realize what a gift it is to connect with them. Don Osier was a person to treasure. He will be missed.

The view of the harbor in winter

Donald Osier Obituary

Donald Osier, 72, died peacefully at sunrise on Thursday, February 8 after a brief illness. Donald was born on September 14, 1951 to Theodore Osier, a New Harbor native, and Lois Osier from a Connecticut farming family. Raised in Manchester, Connecticut, Donald graduated from Manchester High School, then attended and graduated from Bates College in 1973. He also earned a master’s degree in counseling from Michigan State University.

Don lived by the following mission: “Live a happy, healthy, productive life, and help others do the same.” He worked in education his whole life – as a science teacher in Hanover, MA, a guidance counselor in Owl’s Head, and in different capacities in the University of Maine system for 31 years. For many years prior to his retirement in 2019, Don served as the Director of Learning Success at the University of Maine at Augusta.

Don moved to his father’s family home in New Harbor in 1992. He relished his deepening friendships with neighbors and friends, some of whom he had known since childhood. He also enjoyed making improvements to the house, fishhouse and wharf, helping neighbors, and tending his garden. He loved it when people would pull over, roll down the car window and say how much they admired his prized gladiola patch.

Don loved to sing and dance. Over the years he sang classical choral music, barbershop, madrigals, community theater, and opera. He performed with a number of Midcoast Maine’s wonderful choral groups including Tapestry Singers, Oratorio Chorale and the St. Cecilia Chamber Choir.

An enthusiastic contra dancer, Don went to dances all over Maine as well as contra dance festivals and camps in 18 other states, England, and St. Croix. Contra dance was even part of Don’s retirement party.

One of Don’s grandfathers, Elmer, was a lobsterman and, for many years, head boatman at the Audubon Camp on Hog Island. Don carried on those traditions in his own way. In his younger years, Don was a staff member on several Audubon cross country expeditions. Later, once he had settled in New Harbor, Don used the fishhouse as a workshop to repair or restore more than one skiff for friends and neighbors.  He also volunteered at the Carpenter’s Boat Shop in Pemaquid.

Don wrote the following words in a profile for his 50th reunion at Bates last year: “The stairs to the first floor in my house come down to a door looking north across the head of the harbor. I look across the harbor every morning and notice the changes from the day before. It keeps me humble to be reminded that my life is one tiny part of an immense universe that keeps moving on regardless of my day-to-day experiences. And so, the journey continues.”

Donald is survived by his brother, Carl, Carl’s partner Steve Collins; by Sarah Tomasello, his loving partner; and by Marshall Hansen of Northfield, Minnesota, Don’s college roommate and lifelong friend.

A celebration of Don’s life will take place in the spring. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to any of the organizations mentioned here or to a group or organization important to you.

Condolences, and messages for Don’s family, may be expressed by visiting