Boy who was ‘Lost on a Moun­tain in Maine’ dies at 90

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - OBITUARIES - By David Sharp

PORT­LAND, MAINE >> Donn Fendler, who as a boy sur­vived nine days alone on Maine’s tallest moun­tain in 1939 and later wrote a book about the or­deal, has died at 90.

Fendler col­lab­o­rated with Joseph B. Egan on a book, “Lost on a Moun­tain in Maine,” which was re­quired reading for many fourth-graders in Maine. He also en­joyed vis­it­ing schools to tell his story.

He died Mon­day in Ban­gor, Maine, after be­ing hos­pi­tal­ized for fail­ing health, fam­ily mem­bers said.

“He loved Maine. He loved kids. He loved telling his story to kids to help them keep their cool if they get lost,” his niece, Nancy Fendler, said.

Fendler said he used tech­niques learned as a Boy Scout to sur­vive on Mount Katahdin, the north­ern ter­mi­nus of the Ap­palachian Trail.

As a 12-year-old, Fendler got lost while hik­ing and made his way down the moun­tain and through the woods to the east branch of the Penob­scot River, where he was found more than 30 miles from where he started. Bruised and cut, starved and shoe­less, he’d sur­vived by eat­ing berries. He had lost 15 pounds.

The book be­came a chil­dren’s clas­sic. A graphic novel, “Lost Trail, Nine Days Alone in the Wilder­ness,” was pub­lished five years ago. A movie is now in the works.

His fam­ily is­sued a state­ment Tues­day, say­ing his sur­vival story “will stand for­ever as a tes­ta­ment to the mercy and mir­a­cles of God, faith in God, prayer and de­ter­mi­na­tion to never give up.”

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