Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Monday, August 8, 2016

Harry Ailster passes

Harry Ailster (r.) costarred with Sally Beckwith in Act One's
2001 production of Driving Miss Daisie. They are shown here
in a publicity still with actor Jordan Hunt.

Plainfield has lost another icon.

Harry Ailster, bon vivant and raconteur, gifted actor, talented pianist and long-time Plainfield Symphony Board member passed away Sunday, August 7.

Born in 1931, Harry had resided in Plainfield for many years -- famously in a full-floor apartment in the Marsh mansion on West 8th Street, and then in a similar grand suite at the former Monday Afternoon Club on Watchung Avenue.

Harry was a music teacher in the New Providence Public Schools for 26 years, retiring in 1993.

But he was known to Plainfielders for his interest and tireless volunteer efforts in music and the theater.

Harry served faithfully for many years as a member of the board of the Plainfield Symphony, where he always greeted ticket holders with the evening's program as they entered.

In 2014, Harry narrated a performance of Benjamin Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra under the baton of PSO music director Charles Prince.

But perhaps Harry is most famous for co-starring with the late Sally Beckwith in the Act One theater group's production of Driving Miss Daisie. Harry and Sally seemed made for each other and the production was one of most popular and talked-about ever for the small theater company that performed in the parish hall of the First Unitarian Society of Plainfield.

Though Harry had countless friends in the Plainfield community, the only family I am aware of is  goddaughter who lives in Freehold.

I will post more when service information becomes available.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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