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In memory of Donald Ryder Dickey

Updated: Aug 16, 2023

Excerpt from November 2016 UGMM newsletter.


Donald Ryder Dickey, a hard rock miner and owner of the Oriental Mine, passed away in Nevada City, California on November 17th, 2015.


Born in Pasadena in 1924, Don spent much of his youth on a ranch in Ojai. He earned his pilot’s license at age 16 – passing his commercial flight exam a year later. Don joined the Naval Air, went to V-12 school, and was enrolled in Naval Officer Candidate School at UCLA, Princeton and Berkeley. Through the end of World War II, he served on an attack transport

ship in the Pacific Theater.



Don Dickey at the Oriental Mine 1970s


After the war, Don attended the Mackay School of Mines, but just shy of earning enough credits for his Mining Engineering Degree, he left to help his mother run the Oriental Mine. In the mid-‘50s, he worked with Bunny Allen in Africa, and the Game Control Dept. of Kenya then returned to California to race Porsches. Don was recently recognized as a Porsche Legend. By the mid ‘60s, Don had retired from racing and focused all of his efforts on the Oriental Mine. In 1971, he married Hisae Aoki.



PHOTO: Racecar driver Don Dickey in his Porsche Carrera

Don was passionate about sharing and preserving the history and beauty of gold mining. He helped create the Ruby Nugget Collection replica for Sierra County and donated gold specimens to several museums throughout California.


Till the day he died, Don continued both his passion for the Oriental Mine and his love for Hisae – his wife of more than 44 years. He is survived by her and many dear friends around the world.



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