Donald null Rorke obituary

Donald Rorke Obituary

Philadelphia, North Carolina, United States

December 08, 1929 - November 10, 2016

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Donald null Rorke obituary

Donald Rorke Obituary

Dec 08, 1929 - Nov 10, 2016

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Donald Markley Rorke December 8, 1929 - November 4, 2016 Chapel Hill Don Rorke, champion of modern design classics at Knoll and Steuben, lifelong arts advocate, and decorated Vietnam veteran, died at his home in Chapel Hill on November 4, 2016. Mr. Rorke was born on December 8, 1929 in North Hills, Pennsylvania, the youngest son of the late Edwyn Grant Rorke, R.A., AIA, architect of stately homes throughout suburban Philadelphia, and the late Florence Whitman Rorke, an accomplished classical pianist and organist. He graduated from Lower Merion High School and Valley Forge Military Academy, and attended Philadelphia's University of the Arts, where he met his wife, Wilma Jean Robinson. He earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from Syracuse University, with additional management and design work at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Serving in the US Army for 21 years, Mr. Rorke was a decorated Vietnam veteran and a graduate of the U.S. Army Command & General Staff College, where he shared highest honors with classmate General Norman Schwarzkopf. In 1975, Mr. Rorke moved from the Pentagon to Park Avenue to become Executive Vice President of Design for Knoll International, where he worked with leading architects and designers including Frank Gehry, Michael Graves, Robert Venturi, Marcel Breuer, and Massimo Vignelli. In 1992, Mr. Rorke joined Steuben Glass as president and CEO. Mr. Rorke served as president and trustee of the Worldesign Foundation, and as trustee of the New York Festival of the Arts, the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, Silvermine Arts Center in New Canaan, Connecticut, Lees-McRae College in North Carolina, and the North Carolina Symphony Foundation Board. He served as advisor to the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Design Museum of the Smithsonian, and the American Craft Museum, and was a lifetime member of the Industrial Designers Society of America. In 1990, Mr. Rorke was presented the Bronze Apple Award by the New York chapter of the IDSA in recognition of his contributions to industrial design and to New York City. After leaving the service, Mr. Rorke and his family settled happily in New Canaan, Connecticut, where they lived for 25 years. Upon retirement, he and his wife Jean moved to North Carolina, where Mr. Rorke was active in the arts and music communities, teaching special program courses at Duke University and at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. Mr. Rorke's wife Jean died in 2007. He is survived by a daughter, Pam Rorke Levy and her husband Matt Brooks, a son, Anthony Brooks Rorke and his wife Karen Fennimore Rorke, a brother, Edwyn Grant Rorke Jr., and five grandchildren: Emily Anne Fennimore Rorke, Julia Robinson Rorke, Ian Fennimore Rorke, Beryl Rae Levy and Jessica Jean Levy. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the North Carolina Symphony or the North Carolina Museum of Art, where the reflecting pool in the Rodin Garden is named for Mr. Rorke's beloved wife Jean.
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