Colonel Ronald Bryan Dorcy, USAF, Retired, was born on December 11, 1938, to Bernadette (Bayer) and Roger J. Dorcy in Butler, Pennsylvania, and peacefully entered eternal life February 22, 2012 on the morning of Ash Wednesday with his wife, Jean, family, and Lake Superior Hospice at his side.
Ron enjoyed sharing his early memories of his Bayer grandparent’s farm where he enjoyed many meals prepared by his grandmother for numerous uncles and cousins. His Irish Dorcy grandparents also played an important role in forming him as a person of integrity.
After High School, Ron worked at Armco Steel Mill in Butler as well as the Hot Dog Shop (more happy memories) before he attended the
the University of Pittsburgh.
Ron enlisted in the Air Force in February 1959 and his first assignment after basic training at Lackland AFB, Texas and Biloxi, Mississippi was at K.I. Sawyer AFB – arriving on December 11, 1959 – his 21st birthday. He helped maintain radio, radar and data link systems on the F-101B’s as well as T-33’s and C-47’s.
He met his future wife Jean (Pohjonen) while stationed at Sawyer and they were married in June 1961 at St. Christopher’s Church in
Marquette. Ron was accepted to the last class of Officer Candidate School (OCS) at Lackland and graduated in 1963 as a 2nd Lieutenant.
Pilot training followed with assignment to Forbes AFB, Kansas as a C-130 pilot. Evreaux Air Base, France was a temporary assignment from Forbes which included flights to Baghdad, Iraq; Athens, Greece; Turkey; Libya; Spain; Italy; West Germany; Berlin and Portugal.
Ron’s next assignment was a year- long tour to Mactan Island in the southern Philippines, which included flights into Vietnam, Thailand,
Loas and Cambodia.
The family rejoined Ron for his following assignment to Langley AFB, for their longest tour–seven years. Portions of this time saw Ron in
Japan and back to Vietnam for another five months. After many tdys, Ron looked forward to being home more often as an instructor pilot and Flight Examiner—this was not to be the case since 3-month tdys to Europe became the norm. Support for the Gemini and Apollo space missions included stays at Mauritius Island in the Indian Ocean.
Promotion to Major brought a move to Austin, TX (Bergstrom AFB) as a part of aircrew standardization for 12th Air Force C-130 crews as well as Air National Guard and Reserve units west of the Mississippi.
A change from Tactical Air Command to Military Airlift Command for all C-130s included another move – to McGuire AFB, New Jersey. Promotion to Lieutenant Colonel brought the family to Abilene, Texas (Dyess Air Force Base) where Ron enjoyed his duties as Chief Pilot and then as Squadron Operations Officer for a squadron in England (another 3-month tdy tour). Shortly after his return to Texas Ron had orders to report to Alaska as the C-130 17 Tactical Airlift Squadron Commander in June 1981. This was another interesting tour for the entire family for a much too short time since Ron was promoted to Colonel and given an assignment at Travis AFB, California, home of the Military Airlift Command’s 22nd Air Force. Ron’s new assignment was Director of Command and Control – watchdog for all 22nd Air Force departing the west coast going north, east, south, or west. After a short change in jobs at Travis as Deputy Director of Operations, Ron was told his next tour would be at Little Rock AFB, Arkansas as the Vice Wing Commander. This was followed by returning to Langley AFB, Virginia as liaison for Headquarters Military Airlift Command to Tactical Air Command and the Army’s Training and Doctrine Center (TRADOC) at Fort Monroe near Langley. Senior officers and their wives from all over the world were a part of this group which was a rewarding experience.
Ron’s final assignment was back in the Midwest at Scott AFB, Illinois in 1988 as the Deputy Inspector General for MAC (Military Airlift
Command) – a tour he enjoyed since he was able to fly the C-130 once again as well as perform his assigned duties.
Retirement came in 1991, the same year Nadeen finished high school in Illinois. Returning to Marquette with parish involvement beginning at St Peter Cathedral followed by a move to St Louis the King Parish brought years of forming fond memories. Ron and Jean were involved in various activities at St Louis and their shared love of the rosary led to them making rosaries together which have been enjoyed by many. Ron was especially adept in creating beautiful Ladder Rosaries. A move to the cottage Jean’s father had built at Engman Lake which Ron added to, made living at the lake more comfortable although challenging during the winter months. He especially loved summers living on the shore of Engman Lake and spending time on his pontoon boat with the radio playing music and watching for the eagles and loons nearby. He enjoyed the songbirds which would sometimes follow him, perch on his shoulder and eat their seeds from his hand.
Ron enjoyed all sports, but especially the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pirates, and the University of Pittsburgh sports programs. He loved people and enjoyed seeing visitors as he became more ill and certainly loved his family who miss him beyond words. His is a marvelous example of what a husband, father, and grandfather should be.
Ron was a member of the Order of Daedalians, the Air Force Association, the Airlift Association, and the Knights of Columbus St Louis the King Council 6447 as well as the 4th Degree Bishop Fredric Baraga, the Snowshoe Priest ASM 469.
He is survived by his wife, Jean (Pohjonen) Dorcy and six children: Shawn (Cynthia) Dorcy, Brian (Molly) Dorcy, Garth (Beth) Dorcy, Davina (Michael) Self, Neal (Jen) Dorcy, and Nadeen (David) Laurich. He was the proud Grandfather to Griffin, Zachary, Logan, and Kylie Dorcy, Kelly and Bryan Gutierrez; Erin Dorcy and Mariah Whitaker-Allen ; Christian and Ian Dorcy; Aaron, Hunter, and Joshua Self; Brendan and Delaney Rohlfs; Matthew and Dawson Laurich. Also surviving is his sister-in-law, Margaret Dorcy as well as many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Roger and Bernadette Dorcy, his step-father Saady Hamder, his father-in-law Eugene Pohjonen, his mother-in-law Lillian Pohjonen, an infant son Patrick Dorcy and his brother, Roger Joseph Dorcy.
Words can never express the gratitude the family has for the care provided by Doctors Doughty and Curran, and Mick Kreis PC once the
diagnosis of colon cancer was made in November. They and Lake Superior Hospice as well as the many friends praying for the entire family made this part of Ron’s journey a bit easier to bear with the presence of God’s grace.
Burial was in Holy Cross Cemetery, Trowbridge Park, Michigan.