Donald Jake Dorr
Donald Jake Dorr of League City, TX, passed away on Monday, December 4, 2017 at the age of 77, after an 11-year fight with prostate cancer.
Don was born to parents Harold and Belva Dorr on March 11, 1940 in Cherokee, IA. The son of an Iowa farmer, he was one of five siblings, including his twin brother Ronald. Don grew up on a turkey farm near Marcus, IA, and one of his jobs was to chase the turkeys back into their sheds when it rained. Don grew to hate turkeys so much that later in life when he had a family of his own, he preferred anything but turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. He also hated broccoli – he said that was the one thing he and George H.W. Bush had in common.
Don attended Marcus High School, graduating with a whopping 36 other students. He then went on to Iowa State University, where he graduated with a degree in engineering. Don married Karen Sue LaVere in 1964, and the couple had two daughters. He worked as an industrial engineer his entire career, working for the likes of Dow Chemical, Dowell and Schlumberger, a career that took the family from Michigan, to New Jersey, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and best of all, Texas. He talked about how he taught others at Dow how to carry on his habits there. His keen observation, excellent work ethic, and fine analysis of problems (habits he learned from his dad) served him very well in his work.
Throughout the years, Don enjoyed golfing, hunting and fishing. He spent many years going to Montana to hunt and fly fish with his brother-in-law Dan. To get out of eating turkey on Thanksgiving, he would conveniently plan his trips around that holiday. Even though he was only there about once a year, he knew the streams and rivers in Montana as well as anyone.
Don’s favorite hobby was fly fishing. He could spend all day on the river, catching 100 trout or more, only to come home with stories and no fish. He was known in the early days of his marriage to get up early, go fishing and bring home a trout for breakfast. In his later years, he spent his time on the White River in Arkansas. If the water was down, he was packing up to head to Arkansas. One of his loves was teaching others the craft of tying flies and casting a fly rod, and he would spend hours helping a stranger hone these skills.
One of Don’s greatest joys was spending time with his four grandkids. He would make up silly songs with them, tell bad punny jokes, and even broke out his guitar several times to play and sing for them like he did for his daughters when they were little.
He loved country music, listening to John Denver, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, George Jones, In the 1970s, he had an uncanny resemblance to John Denver – so much so that he was once chased through an airport by a wino trying to get his autograph.
Don was a lover of ice cream, and passed that down to his daughters and on to his grandkids. One of his favorite things to do when his daughters were little was to take them to Dairy Queen or Baskin Robbins for a treat. Like most of the other Texans, he survived the Blue Bell famine of 2015.
Don will be remembered for his love of telling stories. He could bend a stranger’s ear, but he most loved telling his family stories about everything under the sun, including growing up on the farm in Marcus, IA. Listening to them, it was almost a life lesson in a sense. One could always pick up a thing or two.