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David Lyon Southworth

Born in Boston on August 1, 1927, David was raised in Charlottesville, VA, Lexington, and Hanover, NH.  David’s father was a chemist and the family moved  a bit to accommodate his work.  In 1945, David graduated from Buckingham, Browne and Nichols School in Cambridge and joined the Class of 1949 at Harvard where he minored in math and engineering and majored in Slavic languages and literature. After his graduation from college, David spent two years of employment as an Intelligence Officer for a government agency in Washington, D.C. Thereafter, at Columbia University, David received a Master’s degree in Slavic languages and literature, graduating in 1954.

A supremely talented linguist, known for his massive vocabulary and ever-precise grammar, David taught at various times during his long teaching career teaching Latin, German, and Russian, but effectively spoke several others; however, at heart he was a dedicated mathematician. He began his career at the Lenox School in Lenox, where he worked for a total of seventeen years, serving at points during his tenure as Head of the Foreign Language Department, Director of Studies, and Assistant to the Headmaster, in addition to teaching three languages and math.  When Lenox School closed in 1973, David took what was to be the job of his lifetime, forty years, to be exact.  He came to Manchester-by-the-Sea and became a math teacher at Brookwood School.  He was much loved by his students, and they held him in the highest regard.  He was famous for his puns and was occasionally  known to throw chalk dramatically if homework was unfinished or grades were not up to his expectations. But he was essentially a very gentle man, and his soft spoken manner was of great comfort to many of his students. "Mr. Southworth" was a good listener; he did not judge harshly, and he always had a special place in his heart for those students he liked to call “rascals.” Possessed of an excellent memory, he never forgot a student and could peg them immediately at a chance encounter twenty-five years later.

In 2013, David left his beloved Brookwood School and Manchester-by-the-Sea and subsequently moved to Brooksby Village in Peabody.  He continued to read newspapers and mystery novels and to look for opportunities to discuss their contents. He was reading Barbara Tuchman on what was to be his last day, and he engaged in a discussion of her research on the Viet Nam war. On October 5, 2016, after a busy day of errands and lunch out with a friend, he was taken from us. His legion of admiring past students will keep David alive in their many memories of him, and we will all continue to smile when we share such stories. He was a man with a brilliant mind, a quick wit, and a profound love of children. To have known him was a great privilege.

The burial is private, but a celebration of David's life is under consideration for the Spring. Arrangements are under the direction of the Whittier-Porter Funeral Home of Ipswich.

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