Cover photo for Donald Martin Pilcher's Obituary
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1926 Donald Martin Pilcher 2023

Donald Martin Pilcher

February 26, 1926 — March 25, 2023



Donald Martin Pilcher, age 97, passed away Saturday March 25, 2023. He came into this world on February 26, 1926, a child of the Great Depression and one of 14 children born to Elizabeth (Butler) Pilcher and Harry Daniel Pilcher.  Born and raised on the family farm in rural Kansas near Delphos, KS, he enthusiastically regaled family with stories from his childhood as well as a profusion of poetry he composed using his unique brand of humor.  He was ever a champion for the poor and disadvantaged.


Don served in the Marine Third Division, Signal Company platoon with Navajo Code Talkers during World War 2 and called them good friends.  After the war he married Phyllis Tennyson and the couple had 3 sons, Donald Jr., Ronald and Marshall, but eventually the couple divorced. 

He earned degrees in Psychology and Social Work from Kansas State University and the University of Kansas, and a Ph.D. in Sociology from UCSD, and joined SDSU in San Diego as a professor where he met Ann Jackson. The two married and in 1976 moved to Melbourne, Australia to teach at La Trobe University. Later he also became Dean of the School of Social Work at the University of Melbourne. 

In 1988 Don and Ann returned to the US, settling first in Washington, D.C. and later in Orono, Maine. He was named Director of the School of Social Work at the University of Maine in Orono and retired as Professor Emeritus at age 70.  

After retirement, Don and Ann moved to Bellingham, Washington to be closer to family. After Ann’s death, Don developed a close relationship with Dixie Evans that lasted until his death. 

He was preceded in death by all his siblings; with his passing comes an end to an era. He is survived by his partner, Dixie Evans, his sons Don, Ron and Marshall, his grandchildren Travis, Lindsey, Laura, Becca and Jordan, as well as many great grandchildren. He is also survived by stepdaughters, Cathy Harper, Susan Harper, Mary Harper and Sally Harper.   

A Celebration of Don’s life is tentatively planned for July 22 in Bellingham. 
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Donald Martin Pilcher, please visit our flower store.


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