Remembering Ellen Dorn (1950 – 2023)

Posted Feb 03, 2023

Ellen Dorn, a longtime member and supporter of the Arizona Native Plant Society, passed away unexpectedly on January 4, 2023, in Tucson, Arizona. Born in Philadelphia, she graduated from Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, Pennsylvania (1968) and earned a BA degree  from Temple University (1980), and Masters degree in classical Persian literature from the University of Washington, and did significant work towards a Masters degree in classical Chinese literature. Ellen eventually moved west and was employed as a librarian in Seattle, Washington, for several years before moving to Flagstaff, Arizona, where she was employed as a librarian with the City of Flagstaff library system. As a young woman, she spent some time in China where she worked as an English language teacher.

Ellen and Bahar

 In 2010, Ellen relocated to Tucson where the center of her life was either directly or indirectly associated with the University of Arizona. As someone deeply interested in medieval and ancient history, she was a frequent patron of the UA Libraries. Her other major interests were rooted in the biological sciences. She devoted much of her time as a valuable volunteer with the University Turf Farm operation and Desert Legume Program. At the UA Herbarium she volunteered two days a week engaged in various activities such as mounting plant specimens (over 10,000), helping to maintain the collection’s records, and assisting with plant identifications for herbarium visitors. Ellen was also an extremely able and valuable teaching assistant for the various general botany and plant identification courses sponsored by the Arizona Native Plant Society and the UA Herbarium. As a member of the Tucson Chapter of the Arizona Native Plant Society, Ellen provided articles and performed other services for the Society’s journal, Plant Press Arizona

She was predeceased her parents, Albert and Anna Dorn, and by her brother, Michael Dorn. She is survived by a cousin in Philadelphia and her beloved dog, Bahar, who has been adopted by a friend.  Ellen will be remembered as a gentle, intelligent, and scholarly friend.