Donald Lee Messner1

M, (18 August 1959 - 22 May 2013)
     Donald Lee Messner was born on 18 August 1959 at Williamsport, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania.1,2 He was the son of Frederick Arthur Messner and Mary Louise Stabler.1 Donald Lee Messner first married, at age 22, Gail Koser, daughter of William Koser, on Saturday, 5 June 1982.1 Donald Lee Messner married a second time Marlene Wertman circa 1995.2 Donald Lee Messner died on 22 May 2013 at Florida at age 53 years, 9 months and 4 days.2 He was buried in the Green Lawn Memorial Park, located in Montgomery, Clinton Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania.1
     He was employed circa 1988 in the sheet metal business. His obituary was published on 25 May 2013 in the Williamsport Sun-Gazette, printed in Williamsport, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania. His obituary stated:

     Donald L. Messner, 53, of Montoursville, died on Wednesday, May 22, 2013, at home, Fla. He is survived by his wife, the former Marlene Wertman Ryder.

     Don was born on Aug. 18, 1959, in Williamsport, and was the son of Frederick A. and M. Louise Stabler Messner.

     He was a 1977 graduate of Loyalsock Township High School. He was a member of Faxon-Kenmar United Methodist Church, North Central Corvette Club, Susquehanna Valley Corvette Club, Poor Shot Hunting Club, Fort Myers Offshore, and the National Corvette Museum. Don was the former owner of M&M Sheet Metal which he proudly operated until the recent sale of the business.

     He enjoyed hunting, Corvettes, and Florida boating, especially the overnight Sarasota fun runs. He had a huge heart and was a class act. He will certainly be missed and never forgotten by all those who knew and loved him.

     In addition to his wife he is survived by a step-daughter, Dr. Sara Ryder, Charlotte, N.C; three brothers, Richard (Marcia) Messner, Duncannon; James (Patricia) Messner, Cogan Station; Robert (Betsy) Messner, Mohnton; nieces and nephews.

     A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. on Friday, May 31, 2013, in Faxon-Kenmar United Methodist Church with Pastor Michael Swimley officiating. Burial will be private and at the convenience of the family. The family will greet friends following the memorial service.

     The family will provide flowers and suggests that memorial contributions in Donald's name be made to the Melanoma Research Foundation or the Melanoma International Foundation. Donations may be mailed to MRF, P.O. Box 759329, Baltimore, MD 21275-9329 or MIF, 250 Mapleflower Road, Glenmore, PA 19343. Donations may also be made online at or Please specify that these donations are in memory of Donald Messner.

     In Don's memory let us not forget the importance of wearing hats and sunscreen.

     Kaufman Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Inc.2
The following article about Donald Lee was published on 25 October 2013 Williamsport, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania. This article stated:

     [:BOLD:]National Corvette Museum Receives Donation of 10 Corvettes from Don Messner[:BOLD:], by Mitch Talley

     The National Corvette Museum has received its largest donation ever – a collection of 10 Corvettes in the Don Messner Collection.

     Messner, who passed away in May from melanoma, wanted to inspire others to make similar donations in the future.

     “He said he wanted to plant a seed,” Messner’s wife, Marlene, pointed out. “He wanted others in similar situations with rare Corvettes to see the Museum as a place for them. Most of all, he wanted to inspire future generations to work hard to buy their own Corvettes someday so that they, too, could enjoy the lifestyle that goes with owning them.”

     Messner’s collection will be shown in a special display in the Museum Exhibit Hall from May 10-Sept. 12, 2014.

     Messner, who lived in Montoursville, Pa., had a real zest for life, enjoying exciting things like scuba diving, horses, racing, power boating, radio control airplanes, fishing, hunting, and of course, Corvettes.

     Through the years, he searched for low-mileage, rare Corvettes that were in excellent condition and even had a climate-controlled garage he kept them in, which he dubbed The Toy Box.

     Among the Corvettes he donated to the Museum are:

1965 Corvette custom built race grey coupe
1967 Corvette 427 convertible
1969 Corvette convertible / hard top
1989 Corvette coupe
1990 ZR-1 Corvette
1996 Collector’s Edition Corvette
1996 Grand Sport Corvette
2000 Corvette convertible
2008 Z06 Corvette
2013 60th Anniversary Corvette with R8C Museum Delivery

     Even after he was diagnosed with incurable melanoma in January 2012, he kept on going. He was able to attend the exclusive unveiling of the 2014 Corvette Stingray at the Chevrolet Media Event in Detroit and later enjoyed Museum delivery of his 2013 Corvette and a tour of the Assembly Plant. It was then that he decided the Museum was the best place for his Corvettes.

     “When people see these cars,” Marlene says, “I want them to remember Don Messner and his legacy. He was an amazing and very generous man.”.2

Child of Donald Lee Messner and Gail Koser

Last Edited=6 Jul 2020


  1. [S3] Mary Louise (Stabler) Messner, "Family Group Sheets (Frederick Arthur Messner and Mary Louise Stabler)," supplied 17 January 1992 ([address for private use,] Williamsport, Pennsylvania; USA).
  2. [S2707] Find A Grave, Inc., Find A, transcription, (<>: accessed 6 July 2020), transcript, "tombstone for Donald Lee Messner (1959-2013), Find A Grave Memorial No. 145523542, records of the Green Lawn Memorial Park, Montgomery, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania." Transcript by MG (contributor 47940315), record added 24 April 2015.