Donald K. Gorrell

January 24, 1928 ‒ June 23, 2016

Delaware, Ohio

Donald K. Gorrell, PhD, age 88, of Delaware passed away on Thursday, June 23, 2016 at Willow Brook Christian Village in Delaware, Ohio.

Don was born on January 24, 1928 in Cleveland Ohio to the late Floyd and Mildred (Perk) Gorrell. He was also preceded in death by his step- father, Fred Parker. He is survived by his loving wife of 65 years, Lois (Pferrer) Gorrell.  Don was a loving and devoted father to his children: Jim (Julie) Gorrell of Delta; Sharyl (Scott) Syler of Louisville; Joyce (Daniel) Recker of Dublin. He enjoyed watching his grandchildren grow up. They include Adam Gorrell, Levi (Matina) Gorrell, Ben (Shanna) Gorrell, David (Steph) Gorrell, Greg (Alexandra) Syler, Melissa Syler, Allison Recker, Brian Recker, Cara Recker, and 4 great grandchildren Lucian, Thaine, Ezeckial, Lorilye.

Don graduated from Miami University in Ohio and earned a PhD at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland and a Doctor of Divinity from Yale University. He was a professor of church history at United Theological Seminary in Dayton for 33 years. Don and Lois enjoyed traveling together throughout the United States, the Holy Lands, and Europe before and after retirement.

Memorial services will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday June 30th at Willow Brook Christian Village, 100 Willow Brook Way S., Delaware, Ohio 43015, where a reception will immediately follow.  Arrangements entrusted to Snyder-Rodman Funeral Center, Delaware.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Don’s honor to the Alzheimer’s Association, 39 W. Winter St. Delaware, Ohio 43015 or Willow Brook Christian Village.

To share a condolence or memory

  • Lois and family – Don was my student advisor at UT S. I received great benefit from his counsel and from his classroom teaching. I was the beneficiary of a multiple volume American History that he was “weaning” from his library. He was warm and had a great sense of humor . I remember his smile and his laugh. I treasure his friendship, support and scholarship. – Jack Kouth, UTS ’64 (William John Kouth, East Ohio Conference)

  • I had Don as my history teacher in 1991 at the same time I was serving his mother as a student pastor at Otterbein Retirement Home. He was a very gracious and warm individual, and patient with my somewhat ornery classmates!

  • Dear Lois and family,
    Don was my “Core-group” leader when was at UTS 2976-79. My wife and I and our new-born daughter were living on campus (in the old Bone-Brake Hall), so it was great to have someone like Don, with his warmth and patience. (I do remember how he laughed the one day when someone had our daughter crawl into the room.) Don also was a wise person who could help me think through important decisions. He will be missed my many.
    May God bless all of you.
    Mike Berne

  • My condolences to Sharyl and family. Thou gets and prayers with you. Jean Lewers-Brail

  • Among the many “favorite” professors I enjoyed at UTS was Dr. Donald K. Gorrell. One of my “favorite” courses was one with the Marionist Brothers at U.D. and our own students at UTS. We had to read vast sections of the Vatican II Documents and plowed into the ecumenical implications of Protestant-Catholic relations in this new era. Dr. Gorrell’s leadership assisted me in years to follow where I served in highly Roman Catholic communities and made good friends with priests and laity from many R.C. parishes. I also appreciated his sweeping history course on the Church through the centuries. Most impressive were the prayers he used from contemporary Christians of those eras we studied. It brought each of those eras alive into our own time. Norma’s and my thoughts are with Lois and the whole family at his transition to another realm in God’s Kingdom. I hope to have further discussions with him sometime in the future!

  • Dr. Gorrell reawakened my love of history. He allowed me to use my creative side to examine the events that brought Christianity to where it is now. I am saddened to learn of his death, but look forward to seeing him again. May God bless you and comfort you in your grief.
    Rev. Dann Houghton
    class of 1987.

  • Dear Lois & Family of the late Dr. Don Gorrell: My heartfelt condolences to you all. Professor Don was one of my beloved Church History teachers, highly respected, humble, friendly & so very dedicated to the Lord’s ministry & teaching. I came to closer acquaintance with Don, when serving with Ken Krueger as Associate Pastor at Fairview UMC, Dayton. Don will always be in my memory. Sivaji Subramaniam, UTS 1975. Centerville,ohio

  • Joyce – My sincere condolences to you and your family on the passing of your father and grandfather. May the wonderful memories you have of the time spent with him bring you peace.
    Jana Joseph

  • Don was one of many professors who encouraged me to continue my education and to complete my doctorate. He was also an advocate for me when I applied for a position at United. I was glad to be able to study history with him at United.

  • Dear Lois and Family,

    We are very sorry to hear that Don passed. He was a wonderful person, a great professor, and a gracious colleague. I (Andrew) really enjoyed knowing Don. I inherited many books from him when he retired and still use them in appreciation.

    In such a time as this when human words are limited to console you, may our crucified God be with you and comfort you and your family! You are in our prayers.

    In sympathy and prayers,

    Jane and Andrew Park
    United Theological Seminary