Donald William Hearn, 81, passed away on Friday, July 9, 2021, at his home in Pinehurst, NC. He had recently moved from Gainesville, FL where he had lived since 1971.
He was born in Bennettsville, SC, on September 28, 1939, to the late Earl and Johnsie Hearn of Laurinburg, NC. He leaves his wife of 58 years, Joyce Lewis Hearn and their daughter Susan Hearn (Michael Desautels), granddaughter Matison Hearn-Desautels, and grandson Gabriel Hearn-Desautels. He is also survived by his two sisters Diane (Neal) Brantley and Debbie (Steve) Coffield, as well as many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Don graduated from Laurinburg High School and from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill as a Morehead Scholar with a bachelor’s degree in physics. After working at Lockheed Aircraft in Marietta, GA and the Westinghouse Defense and Space Center near Baltimore, MD, he earned both a Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in management science and operations research from Johns Hopkins University.
In 1971 he joined the faculty of the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department at the University of Florida in Gainesville. In addition to teaching at UF, he did research on large scale traffic assignment problems at Mathematica in Princeton, NJ from 1976-78. He also taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA as well as instructed courses at the University of Rome, Italy, and the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden.
In 1997 Don was named chair of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at UF, a position he held until his retirement in 2007 as Professor Emeritus.
He was elected a Fellow of the Institute of Operations Research and Management Science in 2004. From 2007-2012 he served as program manager for Optimization and Discrete Mathematics at the Air Force Office of Scientific Research in Arlington, VA. In that capacity he allocated funding to researchers throughout the U.S. who were trying to solve problems of relevance to the military. He also served as co-program manager and consultant for Service, Manufacturing and Operations Research at the National Science Foundation. In addition to his published research, he was the founding editor of OPTIMA, the newsletter of the Mathematical Programming Society.
Don was devoted to his family, enjoyed their dogs, playing golf and had a lifelong love of reading.
A memorial service will be held at a later date.
Please consider a donation in his memory to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, 3 International Dr., Suite 200, Rye Brook, NY 10573 or to a charity of the donor’s choice.
Service arrangements have been entrusted to Boles Funeral Home.
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