David R. Proper, 80, of Keene, died January 19, 2014 at Langdon Place of Keene following a period of declining health.
Born February 22, 1933 in Stoneham, MA, son of Argyle and Florence (Hall) Proper. His mother returned to her hometown of Keene when David's father died 10 months later. David graduated from Keene High School and received a Bachelor's Degree from the University of New Hampshire. He studied in France for a year on a Fullbright Scholarship. He earned Master's Degrees from Middlebury, Simmons and the University of Massachusetts.
He worked as a school teacher in Gilsum, Penacook and at Proctor Academy. He then became a professional librarian, working at the Essex Institute and Keene State College libraries before becoming librarian of the Memorial Libraries at Historic Deerfield, where he worked for 25 years.
He served as the unofficial historian for Cheshire County for many years. He wrote the "County History" column for the Keene Sentinel for 48 years, compiling a record of more than 2400 weekly columns. Many of those columns were compiled into two books by the Historical Society of Cheshire County. He wrote several other history books and many articles and book chapters. He also presented hundreds of programs for organizations throughout New Hampshire. He received the Granite State Award from Keene State College and the University System of New Hampshire in 1979 for his historical contributions to south western New Hampshire.
Mr. Proper served on the boards of numerous historical organizations and commissions, among them were the Historical Society of Cheshire County, Association of Historical Societies of New Hampshire, Canterbury Shaker Village, New Hampshire American Revolution Bicentennial Commission, Keene American Revolution Bicentennial Commission, the Franklin County Bicentennial Commission, the Committee for a New England Bibliography, and as Department Commander of the New Hampshire Sons of Union Veterans.
Mr. Proper survived by two nephews, Kenneth Proper and Forrest Proper, and two sisters-in-law, Roberta R. Proper and Betty Proper. His brothers Stanton and Richard died earlier.
Services for Mr. Proper will be held on Saturday, January 25, 2014, 11:00 AM at the United Church of Christ, 23 Central Square, Keene, NH. Calling hours will be held Friday evening, January 24, 2014, from 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM at Fletcher Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 33 Marlboro St., Keene, NH.
Contributions in Mr. Proper's memory may be made to the Historical Society of Cheshire County, PO Box 803, Keene, NH 03431.