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Dr. Donald William Dobler


1927 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Dr. Donald William Dobler Obituary
Dobler, Dr. Donald William
Dr. Donald William Dobler died peacefully on December 8, 2015, at the age of 88. Don was born in Rocky Ford, Colorado, on April 18, 1927 to Anna G. and William L. Dobler. He grew up during the depression years, moving a number of times throughout Colorado and Wyoming. As a youth, Don spent most summers on his granddad's or uncle's farm near Burlington, Colorado. During his high school years he lived in Lamar, Colorado, and graduated from Lamar Union High School where he was active in sports, music, and student government. During World War II, Don was in the United States Navy as a Seaman 1st Class and an Electronic Technician 3rd Class. Following his discharge from the Navy, Don attended Colorado A & M College (now CSU), and graduated with a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering. He participated in student government and played varsity basketball and tennis. In basketball he was selected for the "All-Conference" team for three of his four seasons and led his team as top scorer for two years in a row. After graduation from college, Don was hired by Westinghouse Electric Corporation as a design and application engineer. Initially, he worked in a company training program, moving to a different manufacturing plant every four weeks. His permanent assignment was with the Steam Turbine Division in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Once settled with a permanent assignment, Don married his college sweetheart, Elaine Carlson, and upon her college graduation, she joined Don in Philadelphia. After four years with Westinghouse, Don and Elaine decided to move to the West again, so Don took a job with FMC Corporation (Chemical Division) in Green River, Wyoming. At FMC, Don first worked in Plant Engineering, followed by a department management job on the logistics side of the business. He liked the management work, so to prepare further for a career in management after five years with FMC, Don spent several years doing graduate academic work at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. At Stanford, he earned both MBA and Ph.D. degrees, focusing on management, business, economics, and logistics. After completing his academic work at Stanford, Don served as a visiting lecturer in the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Based on this very positive experience, and contrary to his plan to return to industry, Don decided to continue his teaching work. Subsequently, he taught technical and manufacturing management classes for approximately five years at Utah State University and then spent a year teaching in the Dartmouth MBA Program as a visiting professor. By this time, Don and Elaine were the parents of three children - Kathleen, David, and Daniel. Being a "good dad" was the most important goal in Don's life during these years, and he was a typical "proud papa"! As the kids were growing up, Don embarked on a major writing project. He co-authored the first seven editions of World Class Supply Management: The Key to Supply Chain Management, a book designed to be a college text and an industrial reference book in the field of procurement and supply chain management. For years, this book was considered to be a key authoritative work in the field; it is still in print internationally in its eighth edition (now titled Supply Management) and has had a life of over 50 years. After the book had become well established, Don had the unique opportunity to become the first Dean of Colorado State University's new College of Business, a position which he held for the next 20 years. During his tenure, the College became nationally accredited, grew to a faculty size of 70 members, and became well recognized on a national level. It was one of the first business schools in the country to successfully introduce a "distance learning" program in the graduate field of business. After he retired as Dean of the CSU College of Business, Don became involved in a number of activities, some related to his earlier careers. For 17 years, he served as Editor of a major research journal in the field of manufacturing logistics, now named The Journal of Supply Chain Management. For approximately 16 years, Don was actively involved in consulting and in-house training work in the logistics field for manufacturing firms. As a result of the international use of his book, much of his consulting work was done overseas, and subsequently, based on his international experience, he served as a Field Associate for the International Executive Service Corps. On the majority of these assignments, Elaine accompanied him and tutored students in English. Don also served for four years as Corporate Vice President for the Institute of Supply Management, located in Tempe, Arizona. His job involved the design and management of the Institute's professional development and certificate programs. Throughout his life, service to others was very important to Don. Organizations with which Don served were the Junior Chamber of Commerce in Green River, Wyoming, Boy Scouts of America, United Way, Junior Achievement, Rotary Club (both locally and internationally), and the International Executive Service Corps. In 1987, as a Certified Purchasing Manager, Don received the highest service recognition awarded in his profession - the J. Shipman Gold Medal, given by the National Association of Purchasing Management (now known as the Institute of Supply Management). After he retired, Don remained involved with the CSU College of Business and was active in volunteer work with Poudre Valley Hospital, Poudre R-1 School District, and the Boys and Girls Club of Guadalupe, Arizona. He also enjoyed singing with his church choir in Ft. Collins, with the SunBird Singers in Chandler, Arizona, and most recently, with The Silvertones of the Larimer Chorale. Throughout his life, Don remained an avid skier, tennis player, and golfer. He was also an enthusiastic fly-fisherman, and beginning in 1965, he and his father built a cabin in Alpine, Wyoming, near their favorite stream. The cabin soon became the family's favorite vacation spot. Don was a loyal son, excellent husband and father, and wonderful grandfather to his seven grandchildren. Don and Elaine were married for over sixty years and enjoyed a vital and adventurous marriage filled with deep faith, service to others, and international travel. Don steadfastly stood by Elaine's side until her passing away in 2012. Don is survived by his three children and their families: daughter, Kathleen Seaman of Short Hills, New Jersey, her husband, David, and their four children, Sara, Amy, Michael, and Jeffrey; son David Dobler of Tucson, Arizona, and his wife, Charity; and son, Daniel Dobler of Castle Pines, Colorado, his wife, Julie, and their three children, Jessica, Miranda, and Cassidy. A Memorial Service to celebrate and recognize Don's life will be held on Saturday, February 27, 2016, at 11:00 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church on 1005 Stover Street. Friends may send condolences to the family at bohlenderfuneralchapel.com.


Published in The Arizona Republic on Feb. 7, 2016
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