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Donald Frederick Sangster was born in Sherbrooke on 3 August 1935, son of Frederick J. Sangster and Reta Janet Michie. His post-secondary studies began at Bishop's University with a BSc in Chemistry. He graduated from McGill University with a MSc in Geology in 1961. He went on to pursue a PhD in Geology at the University of British Columbia, where his research focus was on iron-bearing minernals. Following the completion of his degree, Don Sangster obtained a position at the Geological Survey of Canada in 1964, where he eventually came to focus on lead-zinc deposits. He held his position at the Geological Survey of Canada until his retirement in 1995. In 1972, Don published a review of the characteristics of volcanic massive sulfide deposits, which was very well-received by the community. From 1986 to 1995, he also held the position of Adjunct Professor at the University of Ottawa. Among his notable award are the Duncan R. Derry Gold Medal by the Geological Association of Canada in 1981, the Silver Medal by the Society of Economic Geologists in 1984, the Mineralogical Association of Canada's Past Presidents' Medal in 1986, and Logan Medal by the Geological Association of Canada in 1998. His concern for the vanishing heritage of English-speaking population in the Eastern Townships led to his project to photograph and document Protestant churches in the region.
Donald Sangster married Eleanor Doherty in Sherbrooke on 4 October 1953. Together they had four children: Vicki, Cameron, Sharon, and Geoffrey. Donald passed away the 28 December 2018 in Ottawa with interment at the Elmwood Cemetery in Sherbrooke.