“Just happy doing what he loved”: Vanderbilt Colleague Vareen Bell Remembers Don

I loved Don for his steadfast quirkiness, of course, which both mystified and drove our deans crazy, and for his gentleness and Blakean sort of innocence. Jane and I had a bichon named Toby for fourteen years who always reminded me of Don. He had no aggression in him, didn’t understand aggression. When he was attacked by other dogs, he just stood there staring at them, wagging his tail. Don was just happy doing what he loved doing, never worrying about the vulgar competitive aspects of our profession. I think I learned from him about that. If you are sui generis, as he was, and also brilliant, as he certainly was, our profession will also eventually find a refuge for you, whether you know or not what or when that will be. I’m sorry now that I didn’t know about his illness. I could have written him and said all the things I wanted to say, and thanked him.