Donald E. Sanborn, 65, died unexpectedly, following a heart attack, Feb. 8, 2011, at Penobscot Bay Medical Center in Rockport.

Born in Rockland April 22, 1945, he was the son of Herbert and Marion Burkett Sanborn. Raised and educated in Thomaston, he was a 1963 graduate of Thomaston High School.

Following high school, Don enlisted in the Navy. Serving during the Vietnam era, he was stationed in Puerto Rico, Norfolk, Va., and Rhode Island. After his discharge from the Navy, Don studied microbiology at the University of Maine in Orono and Augusta.

For several years Don worked digging clams and for Crowe Rope. In 1993 he began employment at FMC as a laboratory technician.

Don’s greatest love was the outdoors. He spent hours walking through the woods photographing wildlife. He enjoyed hunting, fishing and acquiring land. His family said he felt the more remote and inaccessible the land, the better. They also smiled as they remembered he was “single-handedly trying to save the American Chestnut Tree.” Don was a member of the American Chestnut Club, and diligently planted many chestnut trees on his property.

Spending time with his longtime companion Ellen Spring was something that brought him great joy. Together they participated in several marathons in Portland, Washington, D.C., and Minneapolis, Minn.

Don regularly attended First Baptist Church in Rockland. His love of the Lord was evident in the conversations regarding Bible prophecy that he enjoyed with his grandmother and nephew.

Don is survived by his parents, Marion and Herbert Sanborn; and his companion Ellen Spring, all of Thomaston; his brothers, Daniel Sanborn and his wife Verleigh of Waldoboro, David Sanborn and his wife Joan of Thomaston and Douglas Sanborn Sr. of Stockton Springs; his sister Linda Reynolds of Thomaston; his foster sisters, Essie Christianson and her husband Craig of Rockland and Tena Schmidt and her husband Gordon of Tennessee; sister-in-law Karen Sanborn of Thomaston; as well as aunts, an uncle, many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews and cousins.

Family and friends are invited to visit Tuesday, Feb. 15, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock St. in Rockland. A celebration of his life will be Wednesday, Feb. 16, at 2 p.m. at First Baptist Church, 215 Limerock St. in Rockland. Pastor Robert Manning will officiate.

Those who wish may make memorial donations to First Baptist Church, 215 Limerock St., Rockland, ME 04841.

To share a memory or condolence with Don’s family, visit his online guest book at obituaries at