Meacham’s counsel shaped Voorheesville

Don Meacham

VOORHEESVILLE — In his work as an attorney, Donald Meacham touched every facet of his community’s life.

He started his long career as a sole practitioner “in beautiful downtown Voorheesville” in 1960, his wife said. “But, really, he would rather have been a farmer than a lawyer.”

 He died at home on Tuesday, May 16, 2023, just 12 days short of his 91st birthday. “His wife, Lauren, the love of his life, along with his daughter Darcy, were with him when he passed from a worn-out heart,” his family wrote in a tribute.

Mr. Meacham was born in Peru, New York, the son of the late Robert D. Meacham and Bernice Warner Meacham, the second oldest of four siblings — behind his older sister, Jeanne, and ahead of his younger brothers, Thomas and James.

His father ran an orchard and, when Donald Meacham was 8, his father became manager of the orchard at Indian Ladder Farms in New Scotland.

“He helped fight the fire at the cow barn,” said Mrs. Meacham. The destruction of that barn in 1949, when Mr. Meacham was a teenager, led to the dairy farm becoming primarily an orchard.

Mr. Meacham attended Voorheesville’s high school where he played both basketball and baseball and also worked a lot at the farm, his wife said. He graduated from Voorheesville in 1950, in a class of 23 students, and went on to graduate from Colgate University in 1954.

He then enlisted in the United States Army and was stationed in California. His wife said he enjoyed his years serving in the Army where he made good friends.

“He came home and ran an orchard with his brother, Tom, in Covert, New York … on one of the Finger Lakes,” she said. Mr. Meacham went on to get a degree from Albany Law School, where he made lifetime friends.

“He raised three stepchildren and also two of his own children with his first wife on his farm on Altamont Road,” Mrs. Meacham said. “And horses, goats, chickens and dogs and cats!” 

Being a sole practitioner, Mr. Meacham handled all sorts of legal matters. “He didn’t like divorce cases,” said his wife. “He liked adoptions and real estate.”

“Wanting to make a difference in his community, he represented many of the local people and entities … many pro bono,” the tribute said.

Mrs. Meacham listed his serving as the village attorney as well as the lawyer for the zoning and planning boards, and offering counsel to the rod and gun club, the school board, the library board, the American Legion post, the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery Association, the New Salem fire department, and serving as a board member for the New Scotland Historical Society.

“He really helped people, even people who never paid him. One time, he took a pig for a fee,” said Mrs. Meacham.

She knew the inner workings of his office because, in 1987, she met him when she became his secretary. They married in 1998, celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary in January.

“We enjoyed a wonderful, wonderful life together despite the 22-year age difference. He was my soulmate,” said Mrs. Meacham.

“I put him first and he put me first; we never fought,” she said.

Mr. Meacham had many interests outside of the law. He enjoyed tennis; ice hockey; ice boating with his brother, Jim; golf; nickel-dime poker; and, with Dennis Sullivan, was co-founder of the Voorheesville HorseshU League.

He also had a lifelong love of horses. His father had prize-winning horses, Mrs. Meacham said, and Donald Meacham would ride horses at Indian Ladder Farms and even had a horse-drawn sleigh.

But his greatest enjoyment came from growing plants. “He liked to build things,” said Mrs. Meacham, “but his favorite thing was his garden.”

He grew all the standards, she said, naming beans, lettuce, radishes, corn, garlic, and cucumbers among others.

But he would also try different plants like soybeans one year. At the same time, he grew blueberries and raised peach trees.

Also, Mrs. Meacham said, “He just loved being with the grandchildren. He loved teaching them things. He taught my oldest grandson, Ryan, how to drive a tractor. When he was about 6, he had him on a little old riding tractor … Even his great nephews have said he gave them his work ethic and taught them to be a good person.”

Mr. Meacham worked hard and played hard. “We would cross-country ski and ice skate,” said his wife. “And he loved playing tennis and horseshoes. He was so active,” she said, adding it was hard for him not to keep up with his usual activities after a doctor told him in January his hard had worn out.

“He was not able to get around without a walker. He didn’t want to be that way,” said Mrs. Meacham. “I’m just relieved he’s not in that state any more.”

Reflecting on her husband’s personality, she concluded, “He never had anything bad to say ….He was kind, honest, and funny.”


Donald Meacham is survived by his loving wife, Lauren Hatch Meacham; his children, Darcy Morrison, R. Dean Meacham (Karen), Heather LeVeille (Javier), Courtney Bellouny (Leigh), Patricia Lee, Jody (Jenny) and Bridget Gallagher.

He is also survived by his grandchildren, Anna Denzel (Jeff), Dylan Foster, Lukas Morrison, Ryan and Emily LeVeille, Logan and Caden Bellouny, Brehan Lee Riley (Chad), and Sarah Cooper (Trevor), and by his great-grandchildren, Finnegan, Edith and Samuel.

He is survived, too, by his sisters-in-law, Beverly Meacham, Barbara Vink, and Cheryl Hatch, and several nieces and nephews.

His parents, Robert D. Meacham and Bernice Warner Meacham, died before him, as did his brothers, James and Thomas; and his sister, M. Jeanne Wilhelm.

Services will be private at the convenience of the family.

“In lieu of donations,” his family urges, “please make a stranger smile or do something nice for someone in need.”

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