Remembering Donald McCaffrey

Donald McCaffrey
Donald McCaffrey

Donald W. McCaffrey, Professor Emeritus of Theater & Film, died Dec. 16. He was 95.

Don was a longtime professor of theater and film at the University of North Dakota and a leading national authority on the silent film era.

He was the author of eight major books on comedy film, including “The Golden Age of Sound Comedy,” “Assault on Society: Satirical Literature to Film” and “The Road to Comedy: The Films of Bob Hope.” “Dr. Don” also mentored many university students who have excelled in careers in theater and cinema at the community and academic levels, as well as in the television and movie industries. He loved to talk, waxing eloquent on politics, world affairs and the latest movies, and entertaining listeners with stories of his life adventures.

Don also was a true “Renaissance man,” equally at home at the opera and art gallery or fishing and camping in Minnesota and Canada. Above all, he was a curious, life-long learner, seeking to better understand the world around him. He will be remembered as a man of peace and optimism who had a gentle heart, a great sense of humor and boundless generosity that he shared with his friends and family.

He always tried to live life according to his Quaker father’s belief, that “You should never look down on anyone or up at anyone, because everyone is equal in the eyes of God.” Our family’s love for him was immense. In the words of his favorite Irish blessing, “Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.”

A resident of Santa Cruz, Calif., former resident of Santa Fe, N.M. and Grand Forks, N.D., he was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 63 years Joann McCaffrey, sister Ruth Lawson, and parents John and Maude McCaffrey.

Survived by his daughters Marcy Myers (Rick), Connie McCaffrey (John Chejne), granddaughter Jodi Morgan (Tyler), grandson Adam Myers, great granddaughter Marley Morgan Pearlberg (Quinn), sister Mary Ann Maxwell, and sisters and brother-in-law Jane Fuegner and John Wilkinson (Jenny).