James E. Dorr 1938-2003
James Elmer Dorr died Oct. 12, 2003, at Doak Walker Care Center. He was 64.
Jim was born Dec. 8, 1938, to Frances May and Elmer Dorr. He was the second of nine children. His childhood was spent on the family ranch in the Middle Elk River Valley, where he attended County School No. 33, riding horseback across the Elk River with his sister, Genie, and brother, Ted, to attend classes in the one-room schoolhouse. He transferred to town school in the fourth grade. Jim graduated from Steamboat Springs High School in 1956. He was a district champion wrestler and was active in 4-H and FFA.
After working for two years, Jim enrolled at Colorado State University and entered its ROTC program. He graduated from CSU with a degree in physical education, and he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Force in August 1962. While at CSU, he was a member of the Arnold Air Society, taught physical education courses and participated in the school’s wrestling program.
Jim entered pilot training in November 1962. He was stationed at Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio, Texas, and flew the T-33 and T-38 jet trainers. After graduating from basic flight training, Jim was assigned to fly the B-52 bomber. He received B-52 flight training at Castle Rock Air Force Base in California, attended Nuclear Weapons School and went through survival training at Stead Air Force Base in Nevada. He was then assigned to the 70th Bombardment Wing at Clinton-Sherman Air Force Base in Oklahoma.
Jim married Margaret Ellen Eskeldson on Aug. 22, 1964. Their two children, Karen Frances and William James, were born in Oklahoma.
Jim was the co-pilot of a six-man bomber crew. During the Vietnam War, he was temporarily sent to Guam to serve as a weather briefing officer. Promoted to captain, he was assigned a second temporary duty on Okinawa as a bomber crew co-pilot.
Jim was transferred to the 449th Bombardment Wing at Kincheloe Air Force Base in Michigan, where he was upgraded to aircraft commander and received a third temporary assignment in Thailand. In all, Jim logged 120 combat missions in Vietnam and was promoted to major.
Jim was then transferred to Castle Air Force Base as a flight instructor. He trained B-52 pilots, was promoted to lieutenant colonel, became a flight commander and was the Wing Chief of Safety.
His final assignment was to Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota, where he was the chief of training for the B-52 flight simulator. Jim retired from the Air Force in November 1982 after 20 years of active-duty service. He accumulated more than 6,700 hours of flight time. His military decorations include an Air Medal with six devices, a Commendation Medal with two devices, a Combat Crew Medal with five devices and a Vietnam Service Medal.
Jim returned to Steamboat and the family ranch. He and his wife, Peggy, built a log retirement home. Jim worked 14 seasons in lift operations as a ticket host for the Steamboat Ski Area. He spent summers helping neighbors swath and bale hay.
Jim was a member of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, serving as commandant for two terms. He was especially proud of helping to start a scholarship program for veterans’ dependents.
Jim was an avid reader, solver of crossword puzzles, card player, hunter and golfer. He particularly enjoyed judging chariot races, and he was twice invited to judge the world championships.
He is survived by his wife; two children; three grandchildren; his mother, Frances May Dorr Wheeler of Fruita; eight siblings, Eugenie Brandhorst of Fruita, Ted Dorr of Mills, Wyo., Peggy Jo Carpenter of Idalia, Newt and Bob Dorr of Prescott, Ariz., Mike and Fred Dorr and Hattie Ann Yeager of Steamboat; as well as numerous aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.
Graveside services were held at the Steamboat Springs Cemetery. His cremated remains were interred in the May family plot Oct. 17, 2003. The Rev. Robert Hood, a longtime friend, offered the eulogy and prayers. Military burial was under the direction of the VFW and American Legion.
A reception was held at the VFW following the memorial service.
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