FIRST HEADMASTER Kenston mourns Don Deaton

The Kenston Forest community was saddened last week to hear of the death of the school’s first Headmaster. Don Wilson Deaton, 82, of Mathews, died Sunday, August 19th at his home with family by his side. Deaton led Kenston from its founding in 1966 until 1980. He returned to the school in 2008 to address seniors at graduation. There, he recalled earning $4,000 a year in 1959 as a faculty member of Kenbridge High School and then seven years later being offered a better opportunity--with much more risk--to lead a private school that was being established near Blackstone. Deaton recalled his wife, Phyllis, encouraging him to “go for it, and we did. I enjoyed my career so much, and I can’t believe I got paid to have so much fun. Thanks for inviting me back home.” Deaton was preceded in death by his wife of 58 years and is survived by five children, four of whom are Kenston graduates: Debbie (KFS Class of 1973); Donne (‘75); Doug (‘78); Danny (‘80); and daughter Penny, who was in Blackstone Day School when Mr. Deaton left Kenston to become Headmaster at Albemarle Academy in Elizabeth City, NC. He later served as Headmaster at Isle of Wight Academy, Christchurch School, and the former Huguenot Academy. A celebration of Deaton’s life was held this past Sunday afternoon, Aug. 26th, on the shore of the Chesapeake Bay in Hudgins (Mathews County). Deaton is Kenston’s longest-serving headmaster and was succeeded by these 10, in chronological order: the late Carl Schwabenton, the late ‘Bubba’ Pinchbeck, Richard Bell, Susan Jones, Duncan Alling, David Wachter, Alan Barr, James Milroy, John Colby, and current Headmaster Paul Zanowski.


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