"I love you"- these words were so often spoken by Alan "Dusty" G. Dustin. Just shy of 93 years, he rode peacefully into the setting sun on February 27, 2022. Parkinson's Disease had taken his strength, and his indomitable spirit could no longer be contained.
Born into this beautiful world in Plattsburgh, NY in 1929, his devoted parents were Edith Hyde Dustin and Grant Dustin. Although he was an extremely serious man regarding projects or ventures embarked upon, he had a lighter, compassionate side and was remembered for his leadership without the pedestal. His highly inquisitive nature, intelligence and keen mind were perpetual, as was his warmth and beaming smile.
At age 15, Dusty gained his fine business sense employed by Zahn's grocery store in Plattsburgh after his parents had passed. His railroad career began at age 16 as a baggage clerk in Ticonderoga NY (where he met his future wife, Elsie!), then onto the Delaware and Hudson Railroad where he became fluent as a Morse Code Telegrapher. In 1970 he joined the Bangor & Aroostook Railroad as Vice President and CEO, and in 1974 became the President of the Boston & Maine Railroad, where he led the charge out of the depths of the 1970 bankruptcy by dramatically repairing infrastructure, improving service, and repairing the B&M's reputation. In 1984 he became the Vice President of the New Jersey Transit until his retirement in 1988. Dusty had become a renowned figure to both B&M fans and railroad enthusiasts, garnering immense respect. He had become the very picture of a railroad executive whose kindness and love for his industry helped to guide the railroad through a difficult point in its history. He continued to travel the world where he was a valued railway business consultant in Alaska, Africa, Argentina, and Czechoslovakia; he also had a major hand in the restructuring of the Chunnel between France and England.
Dusty (given the name "Pops" by his grandchildren!) was wild about being outside - an avid runner, camper, swimmer, tennis player, hiker, cyclist, fisherman, gardener. After the removal of a benign brain tumor in 1979, his quest for wellness increased, and he began organic gardening. He felt a great kinship with the wild west, cowboys, and the high nautical sea - Dusty loved reading Louis L'Amour, and Zane Grey. When his daughter Sandy joined him in an adventure to Alaska and the Great West, together they joyfully participated in hijinks such as climbing over fences to access areas not listed in guidebooks. Sharing big band music, enjoying a whiskey sour, Dusty had a great love for his family, friends, and church community- and he made sure we felt his love. That is his true legacy.
Dusty was predeceased by his brother Kenneth who was shot down while flying a B-29 over Tokyo in 1944, his older sister Virginia Keyser, and loving wife Elsie of 63 years of marriage. Having lost his brother during the war, he was not obligated to join the armed forces. However, he felt it was his duty, so he joined the Army and served in the Korean War. In 1952 he returned home, married Elsie and they had four children. Dusty took pride in being a 7th generation direct descendant of Hannah Emerson Dustin, the first woman in the United States to have a statue erected in her honor as a “Colonial Mother” during early America.
He leaves his sister Helen Philips, daughter Diane Itasaka, daughter Carol Nadeau and her husband Robert Nadeau, son Alan K. Dustin, daughter Sandra Dustin and her husband Chris O’Connor, daughter-in-law Hako Itasaka, and four grandchildren; Alexandria Itasaka, Kenji Dustin, Masami Dustin and Kiyoshi Dustin.
Dusty's family is grateful for the care and sense of community that Riverwoods Manchester lovingly provided for him over the past 4 years.
In lieu of flowers, please honor Dusty by donating to: Peace and Paws Dog Rescue, PO Box 1155, Hillsborough NH 03244, or Duston-Dustin Garrison House, Attn: Diane Itasaka, 15 South Central Street, Bradford, MA 01835. Services will be arranged at a later date in May or June.
Happy Trails to our immensely beloved dad.