Cover photo for David Dorson's Obituary
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1943 David 2024

David Dorson

June 14, 1943 — March 20, 2024

David J. Dorson died peacefully at home on March 20, 2024 after a 20 year battle with prostate cancer. Born on June 14, 1943 in Warren, OH, he and his twin Donald were the youngest of 4 children of H.George Dorson and Iva L. Dorson. David loved to tell elaborate stories about the shenanigans they got up to while growing up on a farm in Colebrook. David had a love for radios he developed as a teen studying to get his ham radio license. His call sign was K8PKN and he and his brother (W1GBO) managed to stay in touch over the airways from just about every corner of the globe. The twins helped run the Hiram College radio station and graduated with a BA in physics in 1965. Then he moved to Groton, MA for a job teaching physics and math in the public school. In July 1966 he returned to Ohio to marry Beverly Green, a fellow Hiram and Grand Valley High School graduate. He accepted a job at Hiram College as a research assistant with a former professor and eventually also taught classes in physical oceanography, science for elementary education students, and electronics, and additionally took care of the language lab, campus radio station, and science department equipment.

On top of his teaching load, he ran a dairy farm in Garrettsville, an apartment building in Hiram and later a radio business, David was never one to spend much time just sitting around! To free up time for more of his interests, he retired from Hiram in 1980. However, in the fall of 1983 an illness struck the cows, so he gave up milking and began substitute teaching. About that time, the head of the science department at Western Reserve Academy recruited him for an open physics department position. After an interview, the headmaster, Skip Flanagan remarked that he wanted to hire the person with some farming experience, and while this surprised Beverly, it also made it clear that it would not be anything like a 9-5 job.

Selling the farm and moving to Reserve was a life changing experience for the entire family. All four children, Meredith '87, Matthew '89, Melanie '94, Donald '97, and his niece Laura '91, graduated from WRA. David loved teaching! It didn't matter if the subject was physics, radios, or tuning carburetors, he loved to explain things to anyone even vaguely interested in listening. His passion for the practical aspects of physics and his way of thinking about things in everyday life seemed to interest many of his students. As Mr. Dorson always told his classes, "there's no substitute for doing it!"

David retired from WRA in 1998 and then spent 25 years running a commercial radio business, managing and then selling an apartment building, improving his grandfather's farm in Colebrook, maintaining a fleet of antique John Deere and other non-green tractors, restoring seventeen WWII Jeeps, a 1943 WC-13 truck and a 1953 army ambulance. The last two machines were taken on a series of Military Vehicle Preservation Association convoys on the Lincoln Highway to San Francisco and with his wife to Alaska and on Route 66, all the way across the country and back three times! David was never one to slow down! We never quite believed he ever would, but sadly he had to, in the end.

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