Dartmouth - Lorne Allister MacHattie died on Sunday, September 18, 2022 at The Cottages at Dartmouth Village in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. He was 97 years old. Lorne was born in Changte, Chinain 1925. He was the fifth of five brothers, Les, Lloyd, Harvey and Graham, all of whom
Lorne was a gentle, engaging, person who charmed all who met him with his
wide-ranging curiosity, his deep-seated kindness, and his open-hearted caring. Lorne spent his
childhood years in North China, where his parents James (J.B.) and Janet served as missionaries
with the United Church of Canada. J.B. was a missionary engineer, while Janet taught in the
local schools. They imbued Lorne with strong positive values which informed his entire life.
When Lorne was 13 years old he joined his brothers at Canadian Academy, a boarding school
for children of Canadian families living abroad. He stayed at C.A. until the Japanese declared
war and all foreigners were forced to leave Japan. Lorne completed high school in Oshawa,
Ontario. Lorne was a great story-teller, regaling us all with fascinating accounts of his life in
China and Japan. Most memorable were his accounts of harrowing train travel and idyllic
summers in his favorite place, Peitaho.
Lorne received his B.A. in math and physics from the University of Toronto in 1949, his M.Sc.
from the University of Western Ontario School of Medicine in Biophysics in 1955, and his PhD in
physiology from the University of Buffalo School of Medicine in 1961. He did postgraduate
work at Johns Hopkins University. His career included teaching and research at the University
of Buffalo School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Harvard Medical School, the University
of Toronto and the University of Chicago. He most enjoyed being a bench scientist, pursuing
electron microscopy in biophysics and medical genetics. He was among the early researchers
who characterized recombinant DNA. Some of his photographs appear in textbooks. He also
made his own telescopes and other scientific materials. He was an imaginative and creative
scientist, exploring the mysteries of the human body and seeking to apply this knowledge to
improve the lives of others.
In addition to his formidable intelligence, Lorne was an adventurous, enthusiastic person who
loved nature. In summers between college years he worked as a seaman on ships travelling to
various ports of call. He also worked in geodetic surveys plotting points in the Canadian
wilderness. He rode his motorcycle across Canada, sometimes eating roots and berries and
sleeping in ditches. Well into his 80’s he could be seen rollerblading or riding his bike on the
Clark’s Cove path to Fort Rodman. He loved to take long walks by the sea, where he would stop
frequently to investigate small life forms along the way. He was also a fine musician. He played
the flute with skill, making his own reed flutes at times. He sang in choruses most of his life,
singing under the baton of famous conductors, including Robert Shaw, Josef Krips, Leonard
Slatkin, David Zinman and Erich Leinsdorf. He also performed in a number of Gilbert and
Sullivan operettas. At one point he even studied ballet! He remained full of wonder
throughout his long life. His children and wife wish to give grateful thanks to the staff at The
Cottages, where he lived for the last year of his life. He was happy and very well cared for
there. Two of his favorite aides were with him when he died.
Lorne is survived by his first wife, Shirley (nee Walker) of Toronto, Canada, to whom he was
married for 27 years. He is also survived by their three children, Harvey MacHattie, Gwynne
MacHattie and Dylan MacHattie, also residents of Toronto, as well as Harvey’s partner Sheila
and Gwynne’s partner Suman. Lorne is also survived by his second wife of forty years, Judith
Kolb Morris, as well as her daughter by her first marriage, Dodie Morris Whitaker, Dodie’s
husband Gino Whitaker, and his grandchildren Miranda Rachel Whitaker and Zachary Henry
Whitaker, of Viroqua, Wisconsin. Judith’s other daughter Rachel Elaine Morris was killed in a
car accident in 1994 at the age of 23. We believe she welcomed her greatly loved stepfather
into the life beyond this one with open arms. While he is rejoicing with all the loved ones who
went before him, we are deeply saddened by his loss, but we know his gracious, loving spirit is
with us every day. He was a gift to all who knew him.
Arrangements were placed in the care of Perry Funeral Home, 111 Dartmouth Street, New Bedford, Ma. 02740. Please see our website: www.perryfuneral.com for details on services.