Donald E. Dorn of Youngsville Pa, formerly of Barnes, passed away in his sleep on Thursday, December 5th. Born July 6, 1927 in Albany, New York to Marian Sutliff Dorn and Edward John Dorn, Don attended his first eight years of school in a two- room rural school house. He graduated from Castleton (NY) High School in 1943 while helping with the family farm and apple orchards. Don served as a Seaman First Class in the US Navy from 1945-1946, enlisting at the age of 17 after attending Champlain College in Plattsburg, NY. Although his father offered Don the chance to help run the family lumber yard, Dad’s passion was for forestry, and his sympathetic parents supported that choice.
In 1950, Don earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Forestry from the NY College of Forestry, Syracuse University. After graduation, Don appraised timber in NY State owned lands felled by the “Big Blow Down” in the Adirondack-Catskill Forest Preserve. He was headquartered in Saranac Lake, where he met the love of his life, Brita Anne Smith. Don and Brita were married in the First Presbyterian Church in Buffalo, NY on April 18, 1952. Throughout their lives, Don and Brita shared their love of nature, hiking, canoeing, and birding, for which Don’s career locales provided many opportunities.
He and Brita moved to Richmond, Virginia, where he worked for the Virginia Forest Service. Later, they moved to Isabella Minnesota (and later Toftee) where they lived in a log cabin offered as part of the benefit of working with the US Forest Service and living on the ranger station in the Superior National
Forest. The Forest Service transferred him to Harrisburg Illinois (the Shawnee National Forest), and then to St. Louis Missouri (the Clark National Forest). After working for nearly a decade, Don took an educational leave from the Forest Service and returned to Syracuse to earn a Master’s Degree in Forest
Genetics in 1966. After a brief posting in Athens, Ohio, Don accepted a position as a forest geneticist for a fifty-year tree improvement project for the White Mountain, Green Mountain, Monagahela, Wayne
Hoosier and Allegheny National Forests, for which he was stationed from Warren, PA.
After retirement, Don started a solar-powered electric fencing business, helping landowners protect their young tree stands from hungry deer. He and Brita also helped a project of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Agency in measuring precipitation and other particulates in a remote weather station on the Allegheny. He loved trains, big and small, and the Christmas season was special to him. (He helped select a White Spruce for the White House Christmas tree in 1973.) His favorite hardwood was Black Cherry (the primary focus of his applied genetics research), and his favorite conifer was White Pine. Don was known by his kindness, gentleness, humility and endearing smile. His Christian values infused his everyday actions.
Don was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Warren, as well as a member of the Society of American Foresters, the American Chestnut Foundation, the Allegheny Outdoor Club, and the Audubon Community Nature Center.
Don is survived by his daughter Susan Dorn (Roman Lesiw) of University Park, MD and his son David (Caroline) Dorn of Warren Pa , five grandchildren, Larissa Lesiw and Alexander Lesiw of University Park, MD; Stephanie (Kyle) Rugg of Danbury, CT, Sophie (William) Riddle of New Millport, PA, Philip Dorn of Doylestown, PA, and one great grandson, Peter William Riddle.
In addition to his parents, Don was preceded in death by his beloved wife Brita.
The family wishes to thank the many people who have made a contribution to Don’s comfort and health, especially in the last several months. They are grateful for the staff and volunteers at Hospice of Warren County and at the Rouse Suites, and for their many friends who have visited and offered prayers.
Visitation was held in the parlors at First United Methodist Church, 200 Market Street, Warren, PA, on Friday December 6th and Saturday, December 7. The funeral service was conducted on Saturday December 6th by Rev. Dr. Mark E. Hecht, Pastor, Jon Swart, former Associate Pastor, and Mike Rutenber, Pastor of Visitation, officiating. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to the Audubon Community Nature Center, 1600 Riverside Road, Jamestown NY, the Lake George Land Conservancy, P.O. Box 1250, Bolton Landing, New York, 12814 , or a charity of choice.
The Donald E. Lewis Funeral Home, Inc. was entrusted with funeral arrangements. Email condolences may be sent by visiting www.lewisfuneralhomeinc.com.
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