Donald Dodge

Obituary of Donald Delf Dodge



Donald Delf Dodge, of Dearborn, Michigan and Ipperwash Beach, Ontario, passed away the morning of 10 May 2022 in Dearborn, Michigan.  He was 96 years of age.


Don was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan 3 March 1926. He was an avid scout, and earned the rank of Eagle with the Boy Scouts of America in 1941.  In 1942, his parents moved to Illinois, leaving Don in his beloved Ann Arbor to live with his aunt and uncle, Russell and Peg Dodge, and complete his schooling.  He graduated from the Ann Arbor University High School in 1943, and began a degree in engineering at the University of Michigan while waiting for his call to armed service.  Don completed pre-flight training in the hills above San Francisco, California, trained on navy bi-wing planes at Outumwa, Iowa, became a pilot in the Navy Air Corps, served in World War II, then returned to UofM as a student instructor of Engineering Mechanics and Hydraulics, completing a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of Michigan in 1948.


His career included engineering employment with Owens Illinois and over 30 years with Ford Motor Company, from which he retired when his first grandson was born in 1988.  Don was a member of the Iron and Steel Technical Committee for the SAE Handbook for 27 years, chairing the committee two of those years.  He was also a member of the American Society for Tests and Materials National Committee E7 for 25 years.  He was a guest lecturer at the University of Michigan (1974-1976) and wrote and delivered engineering courses at three community colleges.  After retiring, he remained an active member of the Society of Automotive Engineers and Society of Manufacturing Engineers, and continued to author chapters in non-destructive testing for the Marks Mechanical Engineers Handbook (1978, 1988, 1998).


Don was a member of the Forest, Ontario and Dearborn Outer Drive Kiwanis Clubs for 42 years, serving his local communities in both countries through numerous programs benefiting children in need, including several years as a volunteer for HeadStart.  For many years he added his voice to church choirs in Ann Arbor and Dearborn. He was Fleet Commander of the Royal Shashawandah Creek Yacht Club, and enjoyed years of sailing with friends through the Great Lakes; racing in the River Isles Yachting Association, the Detroit to Mackinac race, and sailing his Hobie Cat from his summer home at Ipperwash Beach.  He was an active member of both Mariners’ Church in Detroit, the Thedford Episcopal Church, and later, attended First Presbyterian Church of Plymouth. As a life time fan of University of Michigan football, his fall seasons were organized around Michigan’s game schedule.  He remembered the view of the University of Michigan stadium from his stroller, as he visited frequently while it was under construction.  His father, also a Michigan Engineering graduate, was part of the stadium’s civil engineering team.  Don established a Civil Engineering scholarship in his dad’s name at the UofM, as well as one in Engineering at Henry Ford College, and another in Nursing in his wife, Phyllis’, name. Don’s commitment to education and to the University of Michigan Engineering was seeded at an early age.


Don was a man of many interests.  His projects grace the homes of many friends and family: lamps and light fixtures returned to working order, decks built to enjoy the outdoors, popcorn balls at the holidays, toy cars and boats built with grandchildren.  All are cause for celebration.


He was preceded in death by his parents, Harland Pray Dodge I, and Helen Marr Delf, his sister Dororthy Lee Dodge Davis, his wife of 62 years, Phyllis Jean Marsh Dodge, and his brother, Harland Pray Dodge II. 

Don is survived by his children Craig Charles Dodge of Tahoe City, California, Karen Dodge Frampton of Alpena, Michigan, and Delf Dodge of New York, his grandchildren by Craig (Shelly, Rebecca, Zachariah, Mariah, Jaime), Karen (Matthew, Vincent, Juli) and Delf (Alexei, Taylor), seven great-grandchildren, and his partner of the last several years, Clara Camp.


Rather than flowers, Don asked that donations be made to the Donald Delf Dodge Endowed Scholarship Fund in Electrical Engineering at the University of Michigan, Robert H. Lurie Engineering Center, 1221 Beal Avenue suite G264, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109.2102.  Contributions of any size are welcomed to honour Don and the University he loved. UofM Engineering Gifts Administration can be reached on 734.647.7042.




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