Christmas Eve exit; Gann dead at age 90

Dodi Gann poses for a photograph in 2008 beside a favorite plane.  - Journal file photo
Dodi Gann poses for a photograph in 2008 beside a favorite plane.
— image credit: Journal file photo

Journal staff report

Long-time islander, acclaimed athlete, accomplished pilot and one of the leaders in land conservation in the San Juans, Dodie Gann died at her home on Red Mill Farm on Christmas Eve.

She was 90.

Gann and her late husband, celebrated writer and pilot Ernie Gann, author of “The High and the Mighty”, moved to San Juan Island in 1966, purchasing Red Mill Farm in the heart of San Juan Valley and later donating nearly 687 acres of the 800-acre farm to the San Juan Preservation Trust over a series of years, beginning in the late 1980s.

Born Sept. 10, 1922, Gann grew up in the the shadows of the Sierra Mountains and took to skiing with gusto. She was member of the U.S. women’s ski team and competed in the 1948 Winter Olympics, in St. Moritz. She was inducted into the U.S. Ski Team Hall of Fame in 2001.

On San Juan, Gann, an accomplished pilot, was known for her love of flying, as a practical environmentalist, a spirited conversationalist and a tireless advocate for the humane treatment and care of animals. She was a long-time board member of the Animal Protection Society.

Renown for an irrepressible attitude, and for her spunk and drive, she contributed both energy and personality to numerous local causes and was Grand Marshal of Friday Harbor’s 2008 Fourth of July Parade.

According to sources close to the family, Gann chose to be at her home on Red Mill Farm near the end, after battling unsuccessfully for many months against a progressive infection that claimed her life.

A celebration of life is planned for Saturday, Jan. 19.


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