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OBITUARY

James Dennis Dorsey

January 18, 1939January 11, 2018
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James “Jim” Dennis Dorsey, of Williamsburg, also known affectionately as “First Down,” passed away on January 11, 2018.

He proudly served his country with the United States Army for 25 years, serving two tours in Vietnam and earning numerous awards for his service, including the Bronze Star, Vietnam Service Medal with Silver Star, and several others. He retired honorably as a Lieutenant Colonel.

During his freshman year at the College of William & Mary in 1957, Jim was proud to work for Jamestown during the 350th anniversary selling souvenir programs to busloads of guests. Following his military career, he returned to Jamestown and was thrilled to be there for the 400th anniversary, which was also attended by Queen Elizabeth II. For many years, he was the Interpretive Supervisor of James Fort at Jamestown Settlement. Prior to his retirement, he was working as the Assistant Interpretive Program Manager for the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation. Throughout his career, Jim trained and mentored scores of costumed interpreters. He researched and developed interpretive training and public history programs that continue to be a staple of Jamestown’s museum experience. Jim was also a published author, particularly proud to have written a poem to commemorate the quadricentennial of the founding of America’s first permanent English settlement in 1607.

As a devoted alumnus of the College of William & Mary, he could often be found rooting for the Tribe during football games, alumni events, and other sports. He was born in Pittsburgh and continued his love for his hometown teams: the Steelers, Penguins, and Pirates. He also enjoyed meeting up with friends and former classmates for lunch regularly.

He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Doreen Heller. He will be dearly missed by his loving wife of 56 years, Frances D. Dorsey; son, Scott Dorsey and wife Melissa; daughter, Patricia “Trish” Dorsey; his nieces and nephews and their families; as well as countless friends.

Visitation will begin at 2:00 pm on Thursday, January 18 at the College of William & Mary Wren Chapel, 111 Jamestown Road, Williamsburg, where services will follow at 4:00 pm. A reception will immediately follow at the Alumni House, 500 Richmond Road, Williamsburg. Jim will be interred with military honors at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday, June 11, 2018 at 9:00 A.M.

In lieu of flowers, Jim’s memory may be honored with contributions to the William & Mary Alumni Association, Attn: Elaine Campbell, P.O. Box 1693, Williamsburg, VA 23187

(https://wmalumni.com/) or the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Attn: Development Office, P.O. Box 3605, Williamsburg, VA 23187 (www.historyisfun.org/donate/).

Services

  • Visitation

    Thursday, January 18, 2018

  • Memorial Service

    Thursday, January 18, 2018

  • Interment

    Monday, June 11, 2018

Memories

James Dennis Dorsey

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FRANK CORNELL

January 29, 2018

TO THE DORSEY FAMILY: SORRY TO HEAR OF JIM'S PASSING. AS A FELLOW CLASSMATE AND SIGMA PI BROTHER WE HAD MANY GREAT TIMES TOGETHER. LAST TIME WE GOT TOGETHER WAS AT OUR 50TH REUNION. AS A FELLOW VETERAN,I HONOR HIS SERVICE TO OUR COUNTRY AND KNOW THE LORD HAS HIM IN HIS HANDS. GOD BLESS.

January 29, 2018

I am saddened by Jim's passing. We were classmates at the Adjutant General Advanced Course in 1966.

I last saw Jim after we had both retired from the Army. At that time, Jim was working for the Jamestown Foundation and my wife and I were spending a weekend in Williamsburg and decided to visit Jamestown. Jim had a full beard and was wearing a a period costume of the early 1600's. After many recollections and laughs, Jim gave us a detailed and fascinating tour of the Jamestown Festival site.

Over the years I have recounted that visit many time.

God Bless you Jim.

Don Goulet

Lucy DeFrancis

January 28, 2018

Fran, I'm so very to hear that Major Dorsey has passed. Not sure if you remember me. I knew him when he was in TAGO. We worked together at what was called the TAGO Building in Falls Church,VA. My memories of him were all good. We sure did laugh a lot. My prayers are with you and your family

James (Jim) Dethlefsen

January 27, 2018

The memories of our friendship started when Jim and I were classmates at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana in 1966. In the classroom, we were table mates. It was easy to be Jim's friend because of his sense of humor, sharp whit. intelligence and friendly ways. He and I became inseparable, having our next assignment to the same unit (25th Infantry Division in Cu Chi, Viet Nam). We actual had adjoining seats on the flight to Saigon, via an eventful stop in San Francisco. Eventful, because Jim and I repaired to a bar in the terminal (The Cove) and costumed the largest martini ever made - the size of a small fishbowl. The remained of the flight was restful. In Saigon we were taken to the Replacement Unit for a night's rest before going on to Cu Chi. Jim's mosquito netting had a whole in it and when we awoke in the morning he looked like he had a case of the measles. Weeks later he was able to joke about it. In Cu Chi we were assigned to the same GP Medium Tent (the hooch). Jim was assigned as the Commander of the Replacement Detachment, a challenging 24/7 job with great responsibilities. Along with our other hooch mate, the three of us went on R&R to Bangkok, Thailand. Shortly thereafter I was reassigned to a unit near Saigon. and didn't see Jim again until we were back in the States. We exchanged family visits over the years, the most recent when Fran & Jim came to Texas (where Ann & I live) for Jim to go see his Steelers in the Super Bowl.
There are many more "stories" to tell and they will be fond memories of my dear friend of over some 52 years - rest in peace knowing that you are a good man and will be sorely missed.

Fran, Scott & Tricia please accept our love and sincerest sympathy.

January 21, 2018

Dear Fran,

We were so sorry to see the obituary in the Gazette. I have made a contribution to Hospice House in Jim's honor.

Phyllis & Otis Haislip

Pat Hood

January 20, 2018

It is hard to believe that Jim Dorsey had a whole other life before Jamestown Settlement, but he did. At Jamestown Settlement he played the Lord of "Mis-Rule" during the Christmas season, and taught several "content" classes for employees and volunteers. He inspired countless employees and volunteers, including me, to continue learning, consider my audience to who I was speaking, and many other things relevant to the work we did with students at the site. He was a man to immulate. He will be missed by not only his family, friends, and co-workers, but also the countless other people he touched when they toured Jamestown Settlement.

Bob Squatriglia

January 19, 2018

Wayne Woolwine

January 18, 2018

God Bless Jim Dorsey and his family. The Tribe family will remember for his great spirit and love. So long, old friend.

Jaie Pizzetti

January 18, 2018

My wife and I loved working with Jim at JYF. He shared his love of football by inviting us to W&M games and inspired us to give visitors the best experiences possible. He was the best! He will be missed!

January 18, 2018

It is with great sadness that I learned of Jim's passing in the WY posting and in yesterday's Gazette. Jim was a fantastic person and incredible supporter of our LEAD Historic Triangle program. He embraced his volunteer work at Jamestown Settlement with gusto and animation. That enthusiasm came through every time we brought a new LEAD Class to the site for exposure to the many facets of this historical treasure. Jim will sorely be missed and I will fondly remember his many kindnesses and generous spirit of sharing with our community leaders.
Sincerely,
Ellie Wade (retired LEAD Administrative Coordinator)

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