Donald “Don” Dinsmore, who served as curator of the University Museum from its inception in 1984 to 2007, passed away in the morning on Tuesday, September 17, after a long illness. He was 88 years old.
Don started his career on The Bluff as a custodian in 1972, working mostly in the old Science Hall (now Romanaggi Hall), where he cheerfully went about his duties while befriending all and sundry faculty and staff and students who labored there. He was an elementary school teacher and vice principal for many years, a profession he entered after coming home from combat service in World War II, where he saw action in the South Pacific as a landing boat pilot.
The University museum came about as a mutual dream of Don and history professor Jim Covert, and started as a ragtag collection of artifacts piled on folding tables in a storeroom in Shipstad basement. Don spent countless hours collecting, cataloguing, storing, and displaying every item of historic significance to the University he could lay his hands on, and many of those items can be seen in the University museum to this day, still located in the basement of Shipstad across from the archives.
Services will take place on Thursday, Sept. 26, at 10 a.m. at Hustad Funeral Home with interment at 12:30 p.m. at Willamette National Cemetery. Our prayers and condolences to Marian, Don’s widow, and his children, grandchildren, and many friends and admirers. Gifts in Don’s memory can be made to the University museum through Diane Dickey at email@example.com.