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