News From Terre Haute, Indiana

May 19, 2013

Donald Gerard Morin


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---- —  Dr. Donald Gerard Morin, a resident of Pennington, N.J., since 2008, and a former resident of Terre Haute, died May 14, 2013, with his family by his side. Dr. Morin was born in 1936, and grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y., as a Dodger fan. He moved to Baltimore, and later to Terre Haute, to teach and raise a family before retiring in Pennington. A graduate of Brooklyn Technical High School in 1954, he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering at Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute in 1957. After graduation, he worked as a wind tunnel engineer employed at Republic Aircraft and later at Martin Marietta living in New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore. His favorite project was with the design and testing of experimental X24 lifting body aircraft for hypersonic flight. He was pleased that research from these lifting bodies is now being put to practice in the SNC Dream Chaser for commercial orbital space flight.

A lifelong learner, Donald went on to earn a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Maryland. In 1972, he moved his family to Terre Haute, where he taught in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology for 33 years. He was one of the pioneers to introduce 'mechatronics' to students, a design process that includes a combination of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, control engineering and computer engineering.

In New Jersey, Donald was a member of the Hopewell Valley Lions Club. Having been born with sight impairments Donald wore glasses since the age of two. He was a keen supporter of programs to improve vision for the sight compromised. At the age of 72 he underwent surgery to implant lenses and he “saw” as most of us do for the first time in 70 years. Donald was an active member in the Four Seasons community at Brandon Farms where he lived, and was a member of the Newtown Athletic Club. He was a devoted member of the Trinity Episcopal Congregation, in Princeton.

While in Terre Haute Donald was active in many capacities as a member in the St. George’s and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Churches. He served for many years as a board member with the Terre Haute Symphony. When his children were still small, he led a 4H model rocketry club that shot balsa wood and cardboard towards the heavens.  

Donald is survived by his wife of 55 years, Dorothy; sons, David and wife Kay of Baltimore, Paul and wife Xenia of Pennington; and his two grand-daughters who greatly enriched his life, Haley and Hannah. He is survived by his sister, Madeline and husband Charlie Schielein of Florida; as well as nieces and nephews, Christopher, Steven, Karen, Suzanne and William. He is preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Marie; and younger brother, Edward.

A memorial service and celebration of life will be held for Donald on June 15, 2013, at 1 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church, in Princeton. Should friends desire, contributions may be sent to the Hopewell Valley Lions Club (P.O. box 128, Titusville NJ, 08560) or the Trinity Church Capital Campaign Fund (33 Mercer St., Princeton NJ, 08540).