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Waltham High Grad, Radio Personality David S. MacNeil Dead At 80

Over his career, the Waltham native and Framingham resident interviewed legends of music & entertainment including, Charlton Heston, James Earl Jones, Lauren Bacall, Maya Angelou and photographer Ansel Adams.

Waltham High School graduate and founding member of the Danforth Museum of Art, Dave S. MacNeill, died peacefully surrounded by his family Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012. He was 80 years old.

MacNeill, most recently a Framingham resident, was a well-known broadcaster in Boston, working at classical radio station WCRB 102.5 FM for 57 years. 

In the late 1950's he spent two years at KCBH-FM (98.7), Los Angeles but returned back to Boston where he forged a long radio career. He was best known for being the voice of the Boston Pops on WCRB Radio for countless years including broadcasts from Tanglewood.

He is believed to be one of the longest running radio personalities in Boston history, according to his obituary. 

Over his career he interviewed many legends of music and entertainment including, Tony Bennett, Charlton Heston, James Earl Jones, Lee Remick, Leonard Nimoy, Eartha Kitt, Lauren Bacall, Richard Harris, Mel Brooks, Helena Bonham Carter, poet and writer Maya Angelou, photographer Ansel Adams and countless others.  

He started at WCRB as a host of a teen program, transitioned into collecting sports scores for WCRB and soon became a staff announcer and news director.

From there, he was one of the most recognized voices in classical music and Boston radio for decades and respected by many in the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops.  

MacNeill was privileged to narrate pieces three times with the Boston Pops including Saint-Saens "Carnival of the Animals, and "Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus" with Keith Lockhart conducting. He also served as guest conductor of the Boston Pops in the famous Sousa march, "Stars and Stripes Forever" using an official baton presented to him by the BSO and Pops Associate conductor Harry Ellis Dickson.

He graduated from Waltham High School in 1949, bound for MIT, but  contracted polio in July of that summer. Once well enough, he studied at Boston University graduating in 1954 from the School of Public Relations and Communications (now the College of Communication.) He was a member of the announcing staff on WBUR (90.9 FM-a college station then) and then moved to WCRB-FM.  

He was born in West Chester, PA, a suburb of Philadelphia, eventually growing up in Waltham Massachusetts.

He resided in Framingham for many years until his death.

He was a founding member of the in Framingham, a member of The Waltham Salvation Army Advisory Board for over 40 years and served on the boards of Young Audiences of Massachusetts, The Cantata Singers, the Community Music Center of Boston, and served as the National Music Advisor to the Newport Classical Music Festival in Rhode Island.  

MacNeill was the son of Harold S. MacNeill and Mother Dorothea Legg MacNeill. He is survived by his children David Wiggins and wife Elizabeth, Emily Greenwood and her husband David and grandson Nathaniel and son Iain MacNeill. He is also survived by his Sister Edith MacNeill, daughter Edee B. Fonseca, brother Arthur MacNeill and wife Bunny and their children, Don, David Eric and Bonnie. He was married to his wife Beverly in 1965. She passed away in 2009.  

The family requests donations be made to their charity of choice.  

Calling hours will be Wednesday Sept. 5, at the William R. Short and Son Funeral Home located at 95 West Main St., Marlborough.              

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