The Daily Me


Donald Calvin "Coach" Holsapple
DEXTER – Donald Calvin "Coach" Holsapple, 85, died Sunday, April 1, 2012. He was born August 23, 1926 in Kingston, NY, a son of Milton and Inez (Elliott) Holsapple. Don graduated from Redhook Central High School, Class of 1944, where he played quarterback on the 8 man football team. He enlisted in the Navy during World War II. He was enrolled in Signalman’s school and learned to send messages by line of sight. He was stationed in the Marshall Islands.

After being discharged on June 1, 1946, Don entered Springfield College. Later, he also attended the University of Maine, receiving Master of Education and Master of Business Administration degrees. He married his college sweetheart, Betty (Wiley) on August 30, 1947. They lived in Springfield, MA while Don finished his degree and worked as a carpenter. The couple then moved to Dexter where Don taught high school and coached football at N.H. Fay. Betty supported Don throughout her life in his business, educational and personal interests.

Don taught Biology, Chemistry and Physical Education at Dexter High School. He also coached basketball, wrestling, and football. During his football coaching career he led the Dexter Tigers two times to the state championship, and was named Coach of The Year in 1951. Don also coached teams in Valley Stream, NY and Brewer, ME. In 1956, with Roger Gilbert and Ed Graham, Don purchased a large tract of land on Lake Wassookeag and built Camp Dexter where up to 40 boys spent their summers and participated in Dexter Little League.

Camp Dexter was also a source of local employment for many notable Dexter residents, such as Vern Bodwell, Ronnie Sands, Dick Barstow, Barry Hughes, and John Parola. In 1982, with his family grown, the property was subdivided and sold. The family retained one cottage and still owns “Cook’s Island” at the head of the pond where Don’s sons and grandchildren put in a slalom waterski course each summer.

After receiving his Master’s Degree in Education, Don served as superintendent of the Pittsfield school system in 1964to 1965 and the Dexter school system from 1965 to 1981 when he retired. He then took up harness horse racing. His several harness racing awards include 1986 State Champ with a $15,000 purse. Don had many visitors in the final days of his life, including Frank "Spook" Spizuoco who talked about both playing for and coaching football with Don and about working at Camp Dexter many years; and Earl Richards who talked about their wonderful days of harness racing at the State Fairs.

Don will be remembered as a well rounded sportsman. He excelled in many sports, including tennis, basketball, waterskiing, horseback riding, fishing and hunting with his boys. Don was also locally considered to be a pretty good shot, and in 1964, he received the Biggest Buck of The Year award. He was awarded numerous tennis trophies as well. His annual match at Crosby Park with George Sampson during the 1970's became Dexter folklore.

Don recently told his grandchildren, “I did what I had to do to survive. That’s what everyone does. Along the way I made some good investments.” Among his best investments, he let them know, were his wife and boys. Betty predeceased him on May 4, 2000. He was also predeceased by a sister, Marjorie.

He is survived by 4 sons, Bruce of Magdalena, NM; Gary of Lincolnville, ME (married to Pat), Kevin of Crystal River, FL (married to Bobbi), and Eric of Loveland, CO (married to Tracy); his brother, Robert of Bearsville, NY (married to Pat); a sister, Ethel McKerrol of Freedom, NY (married to George); nine grandchildren, Justin, Jacob, Megan, Nathan, Matthew, Benjamin, Ryan, Kaity, and Kohlton; and nine great grandchildren, Michael, Dimitri, Maliki, Shila, Obsidian, Isis, Hunter, Sloan, and Daniel. Don is also fondly remembered by his longtime companion, Betty Whitney of Dexter who cared for Don tirelessly in his final days.

Friends may call from 6-8 P.M. Tuesday, April 10th, at Crosby & Neal, 61 Main Street, Dexter. Funeral services will be held at 2 P.M. Wedneday, April 11th, at the Christian Community Church, corner of Spring and Mill Streets, Dexter, with his son, the Rev. Father Kevin Holsapple and Pastor Lois Field officiating. Spring burial will be in the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, Dexter.

Memorial donations may be made to the Dexter Sunrise Kiwanis, c/o Dexter, ME 04930. Those who wish may leave a message of condolence at

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