|8 Dec 2020
Don Seager’s funeral took place on what would have been his 90th birthday. His son Nigel asked mourners at his funeral on September 11th to raise a glass of champagne to a competitive sportsman whose devotion to friendship and hard work had been developed at a wartime and post-war Brentwood School. Don died on August 21st 2020.
One of a family of nine children, he was christened Donald, after a certain Australian cricketer who scored a lot of runs in summer 1930. Times were hard in a house with no electricity, no heating and an outside toilet. War broke out when Don was nine and provided the backdrop for mischief and adventures for the seven brothers. The village fire engine, stored at their father’s builders’ yard, was used for joy riding.
Being brilliant at maths, Don gained a scholarship to Brentwood School which proved a major influence on his life. His mother couldn’t afford the uniform so he went to school in brother Pete’s demob suit. Finding an unexploded incendiary bomb on his way to school, he put it in his desk. When a teacher discovered this, Don was ordered to take it to the head boy who would call the Home Guard. However, en route to see the head boy, he sold the bomb to a boarder for two shillings---an early manifestation of his entrepreneurial spirit.
At school---where he was later followed by nephews Ian, Martin and Stephen---he enjoyed sport. He went on to play football, cricket and golf for the Old Brentwoods for many years----outlets for his competitive nature and a major social focus.
Don did his National Service in the RAF, achieving the RAF equivalent rank of lance corporal and playing football and cricket for his squadron. His umpiring career ended abruptly when gave the Air Commodore out lbw.
He decided against an accountancy career. Seager senior was building over 200 houses a year in the post-war boom and was short of bricklayers. Don duly mastered this skill and worked for his father for several years. He bought a plot of land from his father in Writtle and they built a bungalow together. Don then started building houses, initially with some of his brothers, before branching out on his own, concentrating on individual bespoke properties.
Don met Joan at the Meads Ballroom in Brentwood and they soon became engaged. Their partnership involved running a business together for the first half of their 60-year relationship, Don being the ideas man and Joan keeping a tight rein on the purse strings.
They spent many happy years in Writtle, making many lifelong friends, with Don playing bowls, bridge and snooker with friends from the village until very recently. With son Nigel, he joined Chelmsford Golf Club in 1970: the father soon showing that he was disinclined to concede short putts to a ten-year-old. Don represented the Chelmsford Club for several years in the Leslie Wood Trophy. He felt honoured to be chosen as Club captain for 1999-2000.
With Joan, Don won “an awful lot of cut glass over the years,” thanks largely to that competitive edge. The couple bought a villa on the Costa del Sol and enjoyed over 20 years of golfing holidays with many great friends.
Joan died in 2018. The love and dedication Don showed while caring for her during her last illness reciprocated the many years that she gave to him. He was also deeply saddened at losing his great OB friends Keith Boon, Dave Stacey and Jimmy Graham.
Two days into the March lockdown, Don was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The family continued to see him but he struggled when deprived of his favourite pursuits and lunches with friends.
“My sister Trudy and I could not have had better parents,” concluded Nigel. “They were loving, caring and supportive and instilled in us both a good work ethic and desire to succeed. Don was a very proud Old Brentwood and appreciated the morals, guidance and discipline that the School instilled into him.”