My Dad’s Passing: A Testimonial for Donald Rae Massie


My sweet father, Donald Rae Massie, 73, of Blacksburg, VA passed away peacefully on 18 October 2019, surrounded by his daughters and sister, following a lengthy battle with service-related ailments and cancer.

Don was born on 27 November 1945 in Staunton, VA, son of the late Lillian Forsyth and Layton McCarthy Massie. His early life was spent on the family’s farm in Fishersville, VA; he attended Staunton public schools. Don earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Virginia Tech. Drafted into the military, he served at Ft. Lee, VA and then at USARV headquarters in Long Binh, Vietnam as a draftsman/illustrator. Later, Don earned a Master’s Degree in Art from Radford University. He was a gifted artist, taught photography at local colleges, reported New River Valley news for WSLS, and founded Massie Photography.

Don worked for Virginia Tech from 1979-2009, first as a staff photographer. His photographic images are part of the university’s archives today. He later served as Audio Visual Administrator at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, recording medical procedures sent throughout the state to educate practicing veterinarians on the latest techniques.

Beyond art, Don loved flying, reading, history, and airplane construction. He contributed generously to churches and charities. He always welcomed a chance to help others with their own art and photography projects. He found special joy in bringing people flying.

He is survived by two daughters, Shannon Chance (Aongus Coughlan) of Dublin, Ireland and Heather Massie (Dan Leary) of New York City, sister Kitty (Glen) Layman of Harrisonburg, VA, brother Phil (Linda) Massie of Brunswick, GA and many nieces, cousins and their families.

The family is deeply touched by the compassion of Showalter Center staff and Carillon Clinic Hospice. Contributions are welcome in lieu of flowers to Warm Hearth Foundation, designated to the Showalter employee appreciation fund. The mailing address is The Village Center • 2387 Warm Hearth Drive • Blacksburg, VA 24060 • (540) 552-9176.

The visitation for Don will be held at Horne Funeral Home in Christiansburg VA 5-7 PM on Tuesday, October 22 followed by a funeral service at 7 PM. Interment will be in Staunton, VA at Thornrose Cemetery on Thursday, October 24 at 11 AM.