A note from Caroline:
“On July 30, we lost our dear friend
and co-founder, Don Fairhead. A relative newcomer-regular when Blobs
Park closed in March 2014, Don quickly came to our aid helping to
establish a new bi-monthly venue at American Legion Post 217 in College
Park, Maryland, and serving as Rita's, and then Andy’s, back-up for
getting our weekly local social dance opportunity email announcements to
For six years following the closing of Blob’s Park, Don served as our
treasurer, fellow organizer, and cleaner-upper for many memorable dances
that kept the spirit of Blob’s Park alive and our social dancing family
together. Our core of loyal regulars and our mailing list (now almost
600 strong!) grew as we established a new cadre of live music and dance
devotees who treasured the ideals of camaraderie, caring, inclusion and
good clean fun that Blob’s Park had represented since its founding in
Don quietly became an invaluable behind-the-scenes organizer and
gracious host, helping to make sure that everyone who came to dance
danced and that the array of live music and dance events ran seamlessly
and sustainably through the ups and downs of good nights, lean times,
snow-outs and more.
He served as a capable, tireless volunteer for fund-raisers to keep Hank
Dietle’s Tavern afloat after its tragic fire, enthusiastically
supporting many dance venues close to our heart, such as Mike Surratt's
wonderful Sunday Ballroom and More dances at Glen Echo Park. He was a
dear friend to me and many others, bringing joy and energy to every
event in which he participated in any capacity.
I will sorely miss our polkas in the Spanish Ballroom foyer between
ticket-taking, on the grass at Columbia Town Center, on the asphalt in
downtown Silver Spring, after hours at Rockabilly Saturday night at the
Quarry House, which then moved to Hank Dietle’s, at a myriad of
festivals, restaurants and any place where there was music and we could
carve out a dance space, large or small.
A seasoned tennis player-coach, cyclist and avid exerciser, Don could
dance for hours on end without tiring and embraced my penchant for
circumnavigating a large floor at break-neck speed, never daunted by my
whispered "hints" of "license to fly!" Just as he had as a longtime Anne
Arundel County Tennis Association Team Tennis leader through the ‘70s,
‘80s and ‘90s, Don shared a love of partner dancing as the best medicine
for washing away the cares of the week.
Don rolled with the punches. I was by his side when we learned that he
had stage 4 colon cancer and his prognosis was grim. He was endlessly
grateful to find a silver lining in the Covid cloud when full-time
telework allowed me to be on hand through workday weeks as a caretaker
and friend, alternating with devoted children who drove to Annapolis
from Kentucky and Tennessee to be with him on weekends.
They arrived for an intimate family holiday at Christmas time and the
months that followed to find his dining room rimmed in cards and
flowering houseplants sent by his wonderful Blob's Park Social Dance
Club friends. Other Blob’s Park friends, especially John Hanifin and
Janet Nagler, brought food and helped adapt his townhouse to meet the
needs of a person with limited mobility so he could remain at home with
his cherished waterside view.
Despite weakness and fatigue that kept him from getting out, Don never
declined an opportunity for fun and recreation, even through the very
last week before his sudden, brief hospitalization and final farewell.
He embraced our routine of Movie Tuesdays, Game Wednesdays (fierce
competitor!), Waffle Fridays and candlelight dinners looking out upon
his beloved Weems Creek.
His family plans to return to Annapolis for a memorial event to scatter
his ashes, invite recollections and perhaps host a dance party to
celebrate all that he meant to each of us. They ask that you write down
your recollections now while memories are fresh and save them until we
are able to safely gather again. In the meantime, if you feel up to
sharing any thoughts with me, along with any photos or dance links you'd
like to share, I'll compile a book of memories to share with the family
and save for our memorial gathering or share with our Blobs Park friends
sometime sooner, as you prefer.
Your cards, encouragement, and kind offers of support meant more to Don
than you can imagine. I remain proud and grateful that we were able to
come through for him when he needed it most.
Bless you all,