January 7, 2013 is over and done with but for many, it will not be forgotten. One of God’s most talented children and gift to the Artistic community, Mr. Donald Harris “Donn” Ansell, will be remembered for years to come. He was born in Trenton, New Jersey and raised n Interlaken, New Jersey. While in his undergraduate years at the prestigious Princeton, University, “Donn” started working at the school’s radio station and went on to host this own radio show. After Princeton he segued over to television and became an assistant to William Paly, who ran the CBS network for 50 years.
Among the many shows “Donn” worked on and-or had input in, ranged from “The Ed Sullivan Show”, “Candid-Camera”, the popular children’s program that snared adults too; “Captain Kangaroo” and the news based show “60 Minutes”. In Wilmington, NC, Mr. Donald Harris “Don” Ansell took part in the performing arts community; quickly excelled in those creative trenches and gained many committed followers in the interim. He produced and co-produced bevy of theatrical productions worked tirelessly and taught others to do the same.
In Wilmington proper, for well over 35 years “Donn” wore the hats of actor, radio producer, talk show host- and wore them all with distinguished pride. He became a household name as the leading voice for the WAAV morning drive program on the station he owned, “Talk of the Town.” That ended in 1997 and he went on to be the much noted television host of “Byline Wilmington” Needless to say, his presence, talent and versatility made the local CBS station proud! In fact, “Donn Ansell” could warm the heart of a foreigner just moving into Port City as well as those born there. The later is shared from firsthand experience when this reporter landed in Wilmington. Many will attest that they never heard a cross word spoke about this humble giant of a man.
His staunch community service record could rival many: The “Azalea Festival Committee”, “Thalian Association” and more. In his driven quest to literally save the beautifully restored, Historic Block Hannah USO & Community Arts Center, (HBHUSO/CAC) he succeeded. Today that preserved, wonderful building will play host to a myriad of visitors from near and far.
On January 9, 2013, Mr. Donald Harris “Donn” Ansell received one of the highest honors bestowed to a person and their work. The lower level of the HBHUSO/CAC became- “The Donn Ansell Lower Studio Dance Floor.” This was made possible by a grant from Corning, Inc. and the refinished floor is a generous gift from Matt Hine & Progressive Concrete. At the memorable ceremony, a welcome was given to the guests by H.E. “Hank” Miller III. A very loving & moving tribute was shared about the life and times of “Donn” Ansell and the HBHUSO/CAC, from Michael Walton Jones.
What is a dedication without a first class program complete with photography art? The Program’s photographs were courtesy of I.M. Blaustein. The honorable Mayor, Bill Saffo spoke and unveiled the Memorial Plaque. Remarks were made by Susan Habas, the center’s Managing Director and “Donn” Ansell’s lovely daughter Melaine Liss, gave closing remarks and tremendous thank you to all in attendance. For more information about the HBHUSO/CAC, to see the newly dedicated “Donn” Ansell Lower Atrium Studio, to rent space or for the calendar of events, please see the