SOUTHBURY — The Rev. M. Sargent “Des” Desmond, 89, of Southbury, beloved husband for 59 years of Nancy, died quietly on June 1, 2021, surrounded by his family.
In addition to his loving wife Nancy, Sargent leaves behind two daughters, Rachel Gerowe and Martha Desmond; four adored grandchildren, Nathaniel, Margaret, Anne and Katherine; two sons-in-law, Harry Gerowe and Douglas Stochel, and long-time magic pals, Herkimer and Hartley.
He was born on January 24, 1932, in Medford, Mass., to the late Glendoline (Wilson) and Minot S. Desmond. He grew up in Manchester, N.H., where he began to hone his skills in magic and puppetry at an early age. As a lifelong member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians (Order of Merlin) and the Society of American Magicians, he delighted audiences young and old as the “Wiz of a Wizard.”
Sargent graduated from the University of New Hampshire, attended Bangor Seminary and received his STB from Harvard Divinity School. He was ordained to Christian ministry in 1956 and served as pastor in Newington, N.H., Danbury, Manomet, Mass., and Verona, N.J., before becoming senior pastor and minister of word and worship at the Congregational Church of Brookfield from 1975 to 1997.
In Manomet, Sargent served at the Second Church of Plymouth, a church undivided since the time of the Pilgrims. He treasured his own 15 Mayflower ancestors.
A talented preacher, Sargent loved language and understood the power of the carefully chosen word to engage, to clarify, to motivate, to encourage and to comfort. During his time in Brookfield, he felt called and served as a monthly (PVS) visitor at the FCI in Danbury for more than 15 years. In 1997, he retired from the Brookfield UCC and was named pastor emeritus.
Sargent kept himself busy in retirement as a supply preacher in area UCC churches. He and Nancy enjoyed worshipping in both New Milford and Roxbury UCC congregations. Most years he and Nancy looked forward to spending time with his extended family at Star Island Conference Center off the coast of his beloved New Hampshire. His entertaining spirit continued to captivate, and he always had a trick up his sleeve to share.
Sargent was a magician in so many ways, especially if you define “magic” as the ability to channel God’s love through one person to another. He was a man of abiding faith, depth, kindness and humor, and a blessing to all he met.
A celebration of Sargent’s life will take place at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, June 27, at the Congregational Church of Brookfield, 160 Whisconier Rd., Brookfield.
Memorial gifts can be directed to either the Congregational Church of Brookfield (check to “Book of Remembrance,” memo, “Rev. M.S. Desmond”) or the Memorial Fund of Roxbury Congregational Church, 24 Church St., Roxbury 06783, or the Star Island UCC Financial Grant Fund (check to “SIUCC Financial Aid Fund”), mail to Debbie Duval, 4 Catherine Rd., Framingham, Mass. 01701.