Donald Rorke, L/IDSA, Dies at Age 86
Former executive vice president of design at Knoll International and decorated US Army veteran Donald Rorke, L/IDSA, passed away on Nov. 4, 2016. He was 86.
Rorke was born in 1929 to architect Edwyn Rorke and classical musician Florence Rorke. He attended Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from Syracuse University and completed management and design work at Harvard Graduate School of Design.
Rorke served in the US Army for 21 years, becoming a decorated Vietnam War veteran. He was also a graduate of the US Army Command & General Staff College. In 1975,
Rorke became executive vice president of design for Knoll International, where he worked with leading architects and designers such as Frank Gehry, Michael Graves, Robert Venturi, Marcel Breuer and Massimo Vignelli.
Rorke later became president and CEO of Steuben Glass; president and trustee of the Worldesign Foundation; and trustee of New York Festival of the Arts, Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, Silvermine Arts Center, Lees-McRae College and North Carolina Symphony Foundation Board.
He also served as advisor to National Endowment for the Arts; Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; and American Craft Museum. In 1990, Mr. Rorke was presented the Bronze Apple Award by the New York City Chapter of IDSA in recognition of his contributions to industrial design and to New York City.
Even in retirement, Rorke stayed busy, teaching special program courses at Duke University and Stanford University. Rorke is survived by two children and five grandchildren: In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the North Carolina Symphony or the North Carolina Museum of Art, where the reflecting pool is named for his late wife Jean.
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