Remembering Donald Desorcy

Jeff Raymond remembers former Chief of Police Donald Desorcy.

Remembering Donald Desorcy

Having spent nearly your entire life in the same town has both its drawbacks and its benefits. The pros, however, far outweigh the cons when it comes to knowing people and getting to know people for your whole life, who knew you when you were four and still knew you when you were 40. I feel like the sort of relationship-building that comes with the sort of territory of literal decades and generational relationships is slowly eroding as we argue with each other online and move from place to place.

So my heart hurts this week a little more than it would otherwise, because we lost a good man in Donald Desorcy.

Donald was only a year younger than my parents. I don't remember a time that he wasn't around, if I'm being honest - my uncle, the former Chief of Police Richard Handfield, was an officer with Donald back when they both started out, and when my mother worked in the Millbury Police Department as the head clerk, I'd see Officer, and later Sergeant, Desorcy if I went to the PD after school or went to pick up/drop off something with my mother. Most of the Millbury cops were friendly when I was growing up (maybe because they feared crossing my mother, but I'll choose to believe they're just good eggs), but I remember Donald more than most of them.

Beyond work ties, I did a number of plays at Assumption Church with his daughters, and his wife, Michelle, always helped out with things along the way - I think I still owe her a pair of white bike pants from my Joseph costume. Donald was at every show. Always with a smile, always with unwavering support.

As I moved into adulthood, I remember vividly when my uncle retired as Chief and a lot of people were frustrated that Donald wasn't promoted. We all knew he deserved it, we all knew he earned it - if Donald felt that way, he kept it close to his chest. Why? He loved what he did, he loved the town he was in, and I'd like to honestly believe that he knew his time would come.

Did he and I butt heads on policy matters? Absolutely, but he was a class act every time. He also never took things personally, especially when things got a little more heated and direct. That goes a long way, and you could see it from the outside with the way he handled the officers during tricky and difficult times (of which there were a few during his tenure), or in the more private times - of all the officers who worked with my mother over the years, Donald was the only one who called me personally to send condolences when she passed away. It's the type of person - the type of human - he was.

We only got a few years of Donald as Chief before he got his well-deserved retirement, and I remember the last time I had a significant conversation with him. He was very matter-of-fact about his illness, and was optimistic that things would turn around. Ever the optimist, even when staring the worst down. I wish I had that sort of outlook.

A lot of memories and condolences are going to come around in the next week as we mourn a loss, but also celebrate a life. Millbury's lost someone this week that we're never going to forget, because Donald Desorcy was a good man who cared not just for his family, but his colleagues and fellow townspeople, too. He will truly be missed by us all.

Calling hours will be on 2 July 2024 at Mulhane's Home for Funerals in Millbury, with a funeral mass and burial the following day. More information here. If you have memories of Donald you'd like to share, I would love to run them in this space - email me at