Ralph E. Dorn, 96, of Grand Junction, Colorado, passed away on November 5, 2019, VA Community Living Center. Private services at a later date. Vocation: Served 20 years in air force/Television Broadcast technician. In retirement, he enjoyed his large garden and small orchard.
When a loved one passes away, perhaps the thing you miss the most is their smile. So it is with our parents, Ralph and Ann Dorn, who passed on not quite four months apart, both at age 96. We are comforted by photos of their smiles together across a lifetime.
As members of the Greatest Generation, they were lifelong doers, helpers and givers. Without calling attention to themselves, they were good citizens who believed in honor, duty and contributing to the community. Ann lived her deep Christian faith in word and deed.
Ralph grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin and served in the Army Air Force during World War II as well as the Korean conflict and later retired after 20 years of military service. He was a broadcast engineer at KREX-TV in Grand Junction from 1965 until retirement in 1983, after which he remained busy with gardening, maintaining a small orchard and helping anyone who came to him with a busted appliance for repair in the "fix it" shop in the basement of his home. Many people benefited from his skill as a gardener and enjoyed fresh fruit, vegetables and walnuts. He was both gracious and gruff, and maintained his dry wit to the very end of his life. The depth of his knowledge on a great variety of topics was nothing short of amazing. He was a keen observer of nature.
Ann was raised in central Florida and was often at the side of her country physician father, whom she dearly loved. She was an educator who began her career teaching home economics and health in Santa Fe, New Mexico and later taught at the Colegio Presbiteriano in Caibarien, Cuba from 1948 to 1953. She became fluent in Spanish and was well-regarded and much loved by her colleagues and students. During this time, she experienced the tragedy of her parents' and grandmother's death in a automobile accident. She continued teaching and happened to meet Ralph while on a visit to her sister Jean and family in Colorado. The rest, as they say, is history and they married in 1954.
Ralph and Ann experienced joys and endured great sorrows during their 65 years of marriage. They enjoyed travel and explored the region during their first years here, as they worked and raised a family. The death of their son Larry at age 14 was heartbreaking. Ann devoted much time to volunteer work that included Meals on Wheels, Church Women United and 30 years at the Veteran's Administration Hospital, assisting the Chaplain's Office and visiting patients. She confronted breast cancer and carried on. In 2007 she suffered a debilitating stroke that ended her ability to speak and severely limited her mobility. Even so, she persisted in participating in church and other activities and reaching out to care for others for the rest of her life.
It is pleasant to picture Ralph and Ann reunited now, him helping her to get settled in. “Welcome home, Ann, dear.”
They are survived by daughters Karalyn Dorn and Marian Dorn (Tom Merrill) and extended family across the country.
A memorial service for Ann will be held on April 4, 2020 at 11 am at First Congregational Church, 1425 N. 5th Street in Grand Junction. Private interment services for both will be held at Veteran's Memorial Cemetery.
The Grand Valley has lost the presence of two good, decent people. We miss their smiles, but carry them forever in our hearts. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to HopeWest Hospice, the Wounded Warrior Project or Child and Migrant Services.
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