Donald Lane, 72, of New Brunswick, NJ passed away on Sunday, September 26, 2021 after a difficult year of illness.
Donald was born on April 29, 1949 to William and Margaret Lane in Culpeper, VA. He attended Nathan Hale, Livingston Elementary, and New Brunswick High Schools, where he stood out as a talented cross country and track & field athlete. After graduating from New Brunswick High School in 1967, he went on to study architecture at Hampton University – formally known as Hampton Institute - from 1967 to 1970 and Howard University from 1970 to 1972. At Hampton, he was a dedicated member of the Brotherhood known as Xi Psi Chi.
After graduation, Donald started his career at private architectural firms including Bond/Ryder Associates, The Eggers Partnership, both of NYC, and E. Harvey Myers of Princeton, NJ. In 1978, he began a thirteen-year career at the Harlem Urban Development Corporation (HUDC) a subsidy of NYS Urban Development Corporation. As Coordinating Architect at HUDC, Donald oversaw the design and preparation of construction documents for residential rehabilitation housing projects. During his tenure, he led projects for over 3,823 low to moderate income dwelling units. As a pillar for the revitalization of Harlem, he affectionately earned the nickname “Mr. Brownstone” for his efforts. In 1991, he moved back to his hometown of New Brunswick, NJ and started DML Design to provide design expertise to homeowners and small business owners in the community and throughout New Jersey. He practiced architecture until his passing.
Donald loved to sing. He started at a young age singing “Jesus Loves Me” alongside his older brother William (Bill) at Mt. Zion AME Church in New Brunswick. That established their love for singing and their vocal abilities. They formed various groups and sang from elementary school throughout college, charming fans with their talents.
In 1975 Donald had a son, Sean Thompson. In 1979, Donald met Sandra “Sandy” Dixon at a club in East Orange, NJ. Also known as “Don the Lover”, he suavely approached her and intrigued her with his charm. They were together for two years before getting married on June 27, 1981. In 1986, they had their daughter Kortni, known to family and friends as “Penny”.
Anyone who knew Donald knew his family was his whole world. He cared for his wife when she became disabled and eventually sick, and he sacrificed tirelessly so his daughter could have a happy, normal childhood. He was very present in Kortni’s life, attending plays and dance recitals, chaperoning field trips and even driving Kortni and her friends to school - and back home - every day up until they graduated high school. Donald loved track & field and you could always find him in the stands cheering triumphantly at his daughter’s meets across the state, where she was inducted into the New Brunswick Hall of Fame.
As a well-known member of the community and an all-around great guy, Donald will be sorely missed. Donald was predeceased by his mother Margaret, his father William, and his wife Sandy. He is survived by his son Sean Thompson of Atlanta, GA; his beloved daughter Kortni (Andrew) Huggett of West Orange, NJ; two grandchildren, Miles and Margot Huggett; brother William (Diana) Lane of Piscataway,
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