D. Elliott Wilbur, who loved and was beloved by family, friends, and his community, died unexpectedly on Tuesday, April 24, 2012 of a heart attack at his home in Concord, Massachusetts. He had spent the day doing things he enjoyed -- practicing Brahms for an up-coming concert, working in his vegetable garden, and teasing a far away daughter on the phone.
Born in Bryn Mawr, PA, on August 22, 1929 to Donald Elliott Wilbur, Sr and Elizabeth Tuttle Wilbur, Elliott attended Haverford School, where he led an "infamous" dance band. He graduated from Haverford College in 1951, where he majored in engineering, sang in the Glee Club and in the traveling men's Octet, and forged lifelong friendships and an ongoing commitment to his alma mater. He was a Lt. J.G. in the United States Navy, serving in the Bureau of Ships in Baltimore during the Korean War.
Elliott married Sara Anne (Win) Winstead in 1955. While he worked building Air Force hangars for Luria Engineering, they lived briefly in Georgia, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. They settled in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, where he worked for Union Carbide. In 1965 the family moved to Concord, MA when he began a 28-year career as a management consultant with Arthur D. Little, Inc. He specialized in the introduction of new building materials and the development of solar heating panels in the US and internationally. He rose to become Senior Consultant and Senior Vice President of North American Operations.
After retiring in 1993 Elliott served as a management consultant to many non-profit organizations through his pro bono work for the Executive Service Corps (ESC). He was chair of ESC and taught strategic planning and board development to ESC volunteer consultants.
Throughout his decades in Concord, Elliott was a devoted volunteer in both town management and at Trinity Church. In the late 1960s, Elliott was active in the development of subsidized low-cost housing and housing for the elderly in Concord--a progressive movement at the time. Elliott's work led to his election to the Housing Authority and he later spearheaded the expansion of Everett Gardens' housing for the elderly. He served on the C-CHS Addition Building Committee in 1974 and was elected to two terms on the Board of Selectmen from 1988 to 1994.
In 1997 Elliott became involved with Emerson Hospital, where for twelve years he served as a member of the Board of Directors. He served on numerous hospital committees, including chairing the Search Committee for the current executive director. His volunteer work at Trinity Church spanned five decades: Vestry, Junior Warden, Property Commission, and always, the church choir.
Dancing (Scottish, ballroom and jitterbugging), tennis, and music were other abiding loves in Elliott's life. He enriched the life of his family with music in family traditions and rituals based on song. None of his family will ever forget singing the whole libretto of "Amahl" on long road trips, or the inimitable "Waiting Song" he played on the piano -- each chorus more out of tune --signaling that it is "time to go NOW." He was a joyful participant in the Trinity Church Choir from 1965 until the Sunday before his death, and was also a longtime member of the Concord Chorus where he was President from 2009-2011.
Despite Elliott's devotion to Concord, all who knew him would agree that his favorite place on earth was Little Deer Isle in Maine, and the cabin he built on family land overlooking the Penobscot Bay. He spent part of all but three of his 82 summers on the island. His many raucous birthday celebrations there surrounded by extended family and friends only scratch the surface of the powerful memories he created and cherished in the Brown House and Willow Ledge, sailing, boating and picnicking, but never swimming.
Elliott's extended family was the center of his life and his greatest joy. He is survived by his wife and best friend of 57 years, Sara Winstead (Win) Wilbur, and their four children and their families: Beth Wilbur and Brian Donoghue of Carmel Valley, CA; Ginnie and Ron Miller of Kansas City, MO; Michael Elliott Wilbur and Avery Schmeisser of Yarmouth, Maine; and Rachel and Kevin Conn of Newton, MA. He was adored by his ten grandchildren: Ryan Donoghue; Alex, Todd and Lisa Miller; Nicholas, Lucas, and Peter Wilbur; and Katie, Julia, and Matthew Conn, as well as his two great-granddaughters, Hannah Donoghue and Haley Smith. He is also survived by his sister and brother-in-law Elizabeth and Thomas Hodges, of Rosemont, PA. He was predeceased by his parents and his brother Ernest Reed Wilbur.
Saturday, May 12, 2012 AT 10:30AM
Trinity Episcopal Church
81 Elm Street,
Arrangements under the care of Glenn D. Burlamachi, CONCORD FUNERAL HOME, Concord.
Proud to be family owned, operated and occupied since 1936