Donald Gordon Follett Jr. Obituary

Gordon Follett working at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

Donald Gordon Follett Jr. died on August 5, 2018. 

Gordon was raised in Swarthmore and lived there until he was married. His parents were Donald Gordon Follett and Mary Simons Follett. His grandfather was Fred Simons, a longtime resident of Swarthmore, who gave the property for the Swarthmore Presbyterian Church.

Gordon graduated from Swarthmore High School and Mercersburg Academy where he proved to be a standout in track and field. He attended the University of Pennsylvania on a track scholarship, majoring in engineering. He transferred to Swarthmore College in 1954 and graduated in the class of 1956 with a B.S. in Civil Engineering. After graduating he was offered a position in Bethlehem Steel’s prestigious three-year training course which took him to various Bethlehem steel facilities throughout the U.S. After moving back to Bethlehem, he earned a M.S. in Civil Engineering at Lehigh University. His specialty while working for Bethlehem was large steel bridges.

In 1957, he married Catherine James Follett, who also graduated from Swarthmore College and Lehigh University. They had two daughters, Susan and Carolyn, and one granddaughter. The Folletts lived in Bethlehem until 1968, when Gordon was offered a position in marketing and sales for a Los Angeles company that sold products utilized in steel construction. Throughout his career he worked in steel construction and construction management. After retiring from the Chancellor’s office for the California State University system, he formed his own consulting company with a focus on mediation, arbitration and construction.

Gordon continued his lifelong interest in track and field by becoming a certified International/U.S. Track and Field official for college meets through southern California and the annual Penn Relays for over 40 years. A highlight of his officiating career was being selected out of over 2,000 applicants as an official for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

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