In 2011, retired orthodontist Dr. George Durrwachter and his wife, Shirley, created the George A. and Shirley S. Durrwachter Fund at the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania. Their $40,000 gift established an unrestricted fund that allows the Community Foundation to provide grants where the need is greatest. “We feel strongly about the Foundation’s work and mission and prefer they choose the grant recipients,” says Mrs. Durrwachter.
The Durrwachters are generous donors, dedicated volunteers, and passionate environmentalists with deep roots in western Lycoming County. (Mrs. Durrwachter is originally from Antes Fort; Dr. Durrwachter is from Cammal, on the banks of Pine Creek.) The couple married 51 years ago, following Mrs. Durrwachter’s graduation from the Williamsport Hospital School of Nursing and Dr. Durrwachter’s graduation from the former Lock Haven State Teachers College. They have been a team ever since, building a successful orthodontic practice and raising a family in Williamsport. Daughter, Susan Durrwachter, is a CNN producer living in Montclair, NJ; Katie Durrwachter-Erno is a neonatal doctor at St. Christopher’s Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia.
The Durrwachters’ philanthropic causes include education, healthcare and the environment. They were the major donor to the Lock Haven University Foundation construction of the Durrwachter Alumni Conference Center. “You can’t ask for money from others unless you have given to the cause,” Dr. Durrwachter says, noting that 1,200 donors have contributed to the center, which is now the centerpiece of the campus. The Durrwachters have established a scholarship at the University for Jersey Shore Area Senior High School graduates. They have also made a major contribution to Susquehanna Health that has provided a cheerful, child-friendly redecoration of the Same Day Surgical Suite and the pediatric patient recovery rooms at Divine Providence Hospital.
Both have found time to make contributions to their community through volunteer activities. Mrs. Durrwachter has been active in the Red Cross, the American Cancer Society, the Williamsport Hospital Auxiliary and the First United Methodist Church. As a member of the Lycoming County Planning Commission for 30 years, Dr. Durrwachter was a voice for natural resource preservation and environmental issues. He is a founder and former chair of the Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy and is active in the Pine Creek Preservation Association and a longtime member and former president of the 100-year-old Texas-Blockhouse Fish and Game Club, The motivation behind the Durrwachters’ volunteer activities and charitable giving is simple. “It feels good to help others,” Dr. Durrwachter says.