His Amazing Survival in 1939 Became a Kids’ Classic

Donn Fendler was big national news back in 1939: The 12-year-old got separated from his family on a hike up Maine’s highest mountain and became the subject of an increasingly desperate search. As the New York Times recounts, mothers across the US sent his mother prayers via Western Union. Incredibly, nine days after he went missing, an exhausted Fendler found an occupied hunting camp in the woods-about 35 miles from Mount Katahdin-and was returned to civilization. Fendler’s story is making headlines again in the wake of his death at age 90 last weekend. His account of how he survived is retold in his children’s book Lost on a Mountain in Maine, which the Bangor Daily News notes became required reading for the state’s fourth-graders. One smart move: The Boy Scout found a stream and kept following it, his brother tells Maine Public Radio.

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