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Dr. Donald R. Gorman

April 19, 2018
Dr. Donald R. Gorman
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Obituary for Dr. Donald R. Gorman

Humility. Integrity. Courage. Dr. Donald R. Gorman, Chairman & Professor of Geological Sciences Dept. during his teaching career at Bradley University from 1962 to 2004, passed away at the age of 86 on April 19, 2018 after a brief illness and long career in education.  Don was born in Chicago, IL on November 29, 1931 at Lewis Memorial Hospital - the son of Peter R. and Clara (Antoszkiewicz) Gorman.  The family (including his 18 months older sister, Patricia Jean (Shirley) grew up on S. Sacramento Ave and later moved to LaGange Park, IL.

Don attended St. Ignatious High School for two years and then transferred to St. Rita High School to play baseball. He graduated in 1949 and went to St. Joseph's College in Rensselaer, Indiana where he played football and baseball and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business in 1953.  He had a fun tryout with the Chicago White Sox; he could hit the fastball but the curve was more of a challenge. They did invite him back for another look but he had other plans.

During the Korean War, Don, served in the army and was stationed in West Germany to protect the Fulda Gap region from possible U.S.S.R. aggression.  He was an artillery coordinator as they practiced maneuvers and artillery "firing for effect".  He also played football and baseball in Germany as the army fielded teams for various athletic contests.  He was injured in a football game, had surgery and returned home to the states to recuperate.  While in Germany, he found a love for the terrain and how mountains and valleys were formed, leading to his love of geology.

Don met his wife, Estella Jane Pennock, in Chicago, on a blind date set-up to go to a nurse's dance at Cook Country Children's Hospital. Jane is from Centralia, IL and a 1955 graduate of Iowa State with a degree in Child Development, and supervised a children's program at the hospital. They met and hit it off and married in 1957.  Don and Jane went back to school to the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana) from 1957 to 1962, where he graduated with a Ph.D. in Geology and they had 3 kids, Michael, Caroline and Laurie.

Onward to Peoria, IL to Bradley University in the summer of 1962 to teach and build a program in Geological Sciences. They found a "home" in Peoria with the St. Mark's, Academy of Our Lady\Spalding Institute and Bradley University families.  Don and Jane had two more children, Thomas and Michele and fell in love with the greatness of the All-American city, Peoria.  He hired Dr. Merrill Foster and Dr. Henry Helenek and they all taught for many years at Bradley, teaching students about geology, the study of the earth, chemistry, biology, land formations, climate and more.  The had many field trips, local, out west, and in the Florida Keys scuba diving, often in the Gorman-mobile, a home-built motorhome.  Don also taught at Portland State University for a few summers (geology classes), and summer field camps with the University of Arkansas and U of I.  He finally took a sabbatical year in 1990-91 and taught geology at a few Portland Community College campuses in Oregon.  His wife and Don have a love for Oregon and they bought a condo on the coast with a beautiful view of Siletz Bay and the Pacific Ocean.  All five children graduated from Bradley University. 

Don made occasional television appearances in Peoria to discuss local and distant earthquakes. He also served as Chairman of the Peoria City Country Landfill from October 27, 1992 to May 25, 2004.  He received a nice Proclamation from Peoria's Mayor Ransburg on May 18th, 2004.  A teaching lab was dedicated to Professor Gorman in June 2006 with a generous donation from former student James D. Fiala.  A few years ago, many Bradley Geology graduates, faculty and staff had a touching, wonderful reunion hosted in Bradley's Alumni Center.  

Don is survived by his loving wife Jane of 60 years and their five children and 16 grandchildren (David, Ann, Mary, Jane, Thomas, Joseph of Mike&Maggie), (Ian, Elise, Lara, Gorman, Michael of Caroline&Paul Pate), (Alexander, Caroline of Laurie&Alex Skalbania), (Michaela, Sarah, Dillon of Michele&Bob Kocher).

Don also had a love of nature and all creatures. When he went deep into the field he did carry protection, but was able to share the wild outdoors with bear, rattlesnakes, wolves and coyotes. Live and let live.  He had a soft spot for dogs and cats.  Dogs of the family were Heyboy, Pooky, Fred, Scooter and currently Buddy and Keta.  Also many stray cats found a home with The Gorman's including current feline, Scampi.

Don believed in being as independent as possible, but knew very well that life is a team sport. A big THANK YOU to all the geology students, Dr. Henry Helenek and Dr. Merrill Foster and all the faculty and staff of Bradley. Family, faith and friends matter the most in life. Cherish the moments.

In lieu of flowers, you may consider donating to your favorite charities or go out and explore & learn more (life-long learning) about the National Parks such as Yellowstone, the Tetons or less-travelled Crater Lake.  Remember the Golden Rule and God Bless.  Geology Rocks!

Visitation is on Monday, May 28, 2018, Memorial Day, at St. Mark's Catholic Church at 9 am and a Memorial Mass follows at 10 am.  A luncheon will follow for those available to attend. Thank you Wright & Salmon and St. Mark's Church.

Tributes and condolences may be submitted at wrightandsalmon.com

Previous Events

Visitation

Monday

28

May

9:00 AM 5/28/2018 9:00:00 AM - 10:00 AM 5/28/2018 10:00:00 AM
St. Mark Catholic Church

1113 W Bradley Ave
Peoria, IL 61606

St. Mark Catholic Church
1113 W Bradley Ave Peoria 61606 IL
United States

Memorial Mass

Monday

28

May

10:00 AM 5/28/2018 10:00:00 AM
St. Mark Catholic Church

1113 W Bradley Ave
Peoria, IL 61606

St. Mark Catholic Church
1113 W Bradley Ave Peoria 61606 IL
United States

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