Donald Edward Gorger, 83, of Portland died Sept. 11 with his wife, Sandra Gorger, by his side. A private funeral Mass will be held at St. Rita Catholic Church followed by a private Rite of Committal service with Military Honors at Willamette National Cemetery.

Mr. Gorger was born, the second oldest of five children, to Leo and Ruth (Adkins) Gorger, on Jan. 24, 1937, in Heppner. He grew up in Pendleton, where he worked on his family’s wheat farm and attended St. Joseph Academy.

Mr. Gorger moved to Portland in 1955 to attend the College of Business at University of Portland. Part way through his studies, he joined the U.S. Air Force. He became a Russian language specialist attached to a Military Intelligence Unit. While stationed in Darmstadt, Germany, Mr. Gorger traveled extensively throughout Europe.

When he returned to the University of Portland he studied engineering. There, he met Sandra Tumlinson. They married in 1968. They raised eight children and shared their love with nine grandchildren.

Early in Mr. Gorger’s engineering career, he worked for several engineering powerhouses, including NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Westinghouse, in Los Angeles. Upon returning to the Northwest, he worked for the Bonneville Power Administration, designing and maintaining power flow control systems that are still used today to provide electricity throughout the nation.

Mr. Gorger was a devoted Catholic; his life was centered around God and family. His faith saw him through challenging times and gave him confidence and courage at the time of his death. His family say they will always remember him for cracking jokes, sharing interesting stories, and for his quick-witted remarks. He loved to reminisce about his childhood, farming, and the time he spent in Europe. His timing and cleverness were beyond reproach. He was still making everyone laugh even as he lay in a hospital bed fighting for his life.

A skilled artist and thoughtful teacher, Mr. Gorger loved to share his knowledge and experience with others. He was a generous person who rarely spent money on himself, often preferring to donate to charities or to people in need. Mr. Gorger sacrificed many interests in order to provide for his family. He did, however, enjoy treating his family to memorable dinners and family vacations. He lit up during family meals at Der Rheinlander, enjoying Bavarian beer and food, and breaking into song as performers visited the table.

Survivors include his wife of 52 years, Sandra; his children, Todd, Eric, Bret, Ryan, Chad, Joel, Megan, and Elena; grandchildren, John Paul, Aidan, Emma, Jenna, Brody, Abigail, Greyson, Ethan, and Will. Survivors also include his siblings Robert Gorger and Patricia Forsythe, and numerous in-laws, nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his siblings Leola Bowerman and Richard Gorger.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to St. Rita Catholic Church.