Donald Stiles Gaige, of Mecklenburg, NY, 85, died on Friday evening, January 7, 2005. He was born to Robert and Maude Gaige, of Millerton, Pennsylvania, on April 10, 1919.  Raised in a family of outdoorsmen, Don enjoyed a richly satisfying, lifelong connection with the natural world. After graduating from Penn State with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Animal Husbandry, he moved to the Mecklenburg area and began work on a relativeís farm. It was through this employment that he met Edith Morris, daughter of Charles and Carrie Morris.

 Don and Edith were married in 1944 and became partners in the Morris farming enterprise, extending the family business history to a 4th generation. They raised three children, Richard, Gary, and Donna, and instilled in them the value of a work ethic and an appreciation for all living things. As the farm became specialized in dairy, Don embraced new technologies to help the business grow and become increasingly more efficient.

 Through the years, Don volunteered his time and talents to the Trumansburg School Board, the Schuyler County Farm Bureau organization and the county Soil and Water Conservation District Board, as well as the Menís Group at the Mecklenburg United Methodist Church where he was a member. He thoughtfully and generously helped neighbors whenever the need arose.

 Though he occasionally traveled, Don was happiest at home. An avid hunter and fisherman, the experience itself was always more important than what he brought home. An eager coon hound, the glimpse of a wary buck, a family gathering, well-cured hay and tall corn, slick-coated cows grazing on green pasture, a winterís supply of firewood, each springís new foal, a dramatic World Seriesóthese were his lifeís pleasures.

 After he retired from active farming, he spent his time supervising the farm work from his ATV or Bronco and remained in awe of the simplest wonders of life.

 Don was predeceased by his parents and brothers Roger and Paul. His surviving family includes his wife Edith, his children Richard (Brenda), Gary (Meg), and Donna (Gordon) Reimels, all of the Mecklenburg area, as well as his sister Eloise (Don) Wilson, Millerton, Penn. He leaves behind four grandchildren, Angela (James Rodriguez) Gaige, Liza (Jeff) Cotterill, Brandon Gaige, and Libby Gaige, as well as many nieces and nephews.

 Family and friends are invited to call on Tuesday, January 11, 2005 from 2 to 4 pm and 7 to 9 pm at the Ness-Sibley Funeral Home, 23 South St., Trumansburg, NY. A service to celebrate Donís life will be held at the Mecklenburg United Methodist Church on Wednesday, January 12, 2005 at 11 am with the Rev. Billie Jean Melton, officiating.

 In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Mecklenburg United Methodist Church, P. O. Box 66, Mecklenburg, NY 14863, the Mecklenburg Volunteer Fire Company, P.O. Box 37, Mecklenburg, NY 14863, Southern Tier Hospice, 11751 East Corning Rd., Corning, NY 14830 or to a charity of oneís choice.

 For additional information, please contact the funeral home at 1-888-534-5446.

Page Submitted By:  Joseph L. Sibley, Director