Stephen Francis Damon ’44

Stephen Francis Damon ’44 died of heart failure on May 30, 2009, in Portland.

He was born in Malden, Mass., on April 5, 1922, and prepared for college at Malden High School and Kimball Union Academy. He attended Bowdoin for one year and was a member of Delta Upsilon fraternity. He went on to attend the Wentworth Institute for two years and Northeastern University for three. He enlisted in the Navy in 1943 and served as a radio technician in the Philippines and Okinawa during World War II, attaining the rank of ETM first class. After his military service, he worked as an engineer for Raytheon in Waltham, Mass., before moving to Tamworth, N.H., in l952. He worked as a house-builder for the next 30 years and made piano cases at his shop in Ossipee. He served as a Tamworth Selectman for 11 years and on the Tamworth School Board for two. He made several trips to Africa and Central and South America, sometimes timing his travels to photograph total solar eclipses. In 1975, in a field near his home, he built a two-story domed observatory. The following year, he completed work on the first of three telescopes, made mostly from salvaged materials, following instructions in books from the state library. The largest telescope required a special mirror, which he painstakingly ground and polished from a piece of obsidian. He donated the observatory to Kimball Union Academy in 1982. He devoted countless hours to creating a photographic record of Tamworth, taking snapshots of every house in town as part of the tax record, and more than 3,500 photos of Tamworth residents, filling 37 volumes. He developed the photos in his own darkroom, switching to a digital camera only in the last few years of his life. In 2004, he tracked down Tamworth’s 19 surviving World War II veterans in order to photograph them. He is survived by Virginia “Ginny” Works White, his wife of 39 years; a daughter, Wendy Damon; a son, Christopher Stephen Damon; a sister, Patricia Niswander; a step-daughter, Suzanne Ganem; two grandchildren; three step-grandchildren; and several great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his oldest child, Cynthia, in 1968; by two brothers, Harry Franklin Damon Jr. and Herbert Shove Damon; and by a sister, Katharine Reed.