Cover photo for Ron Dorsey's Obituary
1942 Ron 2024

Ron Dorsey

July 9, 1942 — April 4, 2024

Ronald James Dorsey lived life to the fullest, from the time he was born on July 9, 1942 until he was called to his Maker on April 4, 2024 at the age of 81. His heart and his dreams were as boundless as the prairie ranches he worked his entire life and the Sandhills he called home.

Ron was a man of many talents and interests. He was fascinated by flight at an early age and earned his pilot’s license at 16. He convinced his brother Keith to use their summer’s wages to buy their first airplane and flew it and a succession of airplanes until health problems precluded him from flying anymore. He loved to collect rocks (especially agates) from every place he visited, and played armchair geologist researching the primal processes responsible for their creation. He had a green thumb and collected and planted flowers and trees on all of his properties.  He had a long time love of wagons and carriages. A random conversation Ron had with an Amish man in Pennsylvania about his buggy lead to the acquisition of a finely crafted buggy.   He went  so far as to raise his own colts, donkeys, ponies, and mules to pull his prized possessions. He delighted in giving people rides and participating in parades. In his last few years he developed a passion for avocado toast that he wanted to eat at every opportunity and share with all of his friends.

Ron had a love of Nebraska history and the Old West. Most recently he indulged his fascination with the Lewis and Clark Expedition by taking their route from Great Falls, MT to Seaside, OR. On that same trip he checked another box on his bucket list by attending the Pendleton Round-Up, a rodeo with a history going back over 100 years.

He was called to serve in Korea along the DMZ from June of 1964 until he was honorably discharged in April of 1966. Ron was very proud of his service, as is his family.

After returning to America to join his family’s operation on their Sandhills ranch, Ron met the love of his life, Judy DeWitt, who was doing her student teaching in Gordon, NE. They were married on June 12, 1969 and had three beautiful children, Sheila Kay (1972), Jason James (1974), and Michelle Lynn (1980). All three inherited Ron’s doggedness, curiosity, and giant heart.

Family meant everything to Ron. He got his children involved in 4-H and served in various leadership roles in that organization and at the Sheridan County Fair, imparting his hard-won wisdom to new generations of ranchers. The Dorseys enjoyed many camping trips in everything from their original pickup camper to the hotel on wheels that Ron and Judy upgraded to after their retirement. Ron appreciated nature in all of its forms and had a particular fondness for visiting National Parks, but ultimately his beloved Sandhills were his favorite place to be. He cherished the peace and serenity, and remarked that he felt close to God when he was there.

Ron made it a point to ensure his children were educated. He moved Judy and the kids to town when Sheila started high school so he would be the only one who needed to commute to the ranch. He never missed a parent-teacher conference or play. He was determined that all three of his children would go to college, which they did, to great success. He also took his children to every natural history museum in the area, instilling a love of science in them and his grandchildren that persists to this day.

Ron’s grandchildren were a highlight of his life. He never missed an opportunity to close the hundreds or thousands of miles between them to attend holidays, birthdays, and other major milestones. He also loved to host them at his ranch and town home in Gordon during the summers. He may or may not have fed them ice cream every single day. That shall remain their eternal secret.

Ron was ready to serve as an adopted dad or grandpa to anyone who needed one. He was a man of faith who preferred showing it in actions rather than words, and was a member of the Gordon Church of God for his entire life. The congregation was family to him. He was always ready to help a neighbor, and in later years took friends to doctor's visits and ran errands for them.

As kind as he was, Ron was also an inveterate prankster with a wicked sense of humor. He named his small acreage in town “No Place” so if Judy or anyone asked him where he had been he could answer “No place.” Halloween was his favorite holiday because it gave him leave to cut loose. One of his most legendary practical jokes involved dressing up in a gorilla costume and exploding out of the back of a horse trailer at a church campout, traumatizing all to his great amusement.

Ron once told his children that if he could be any animal he would be a duck, because a duck can walk on land, swim in water, and fly through the air. He accomplished all of that and then some (and, in true Ron fashion, had an extensive collection of duck-related memorabilia).

Ron’s time may have come to an end, but his legacy of wonder, duty, diligence, integrity, work ethic, being a true neighbor, and loving his family wholly lives on in his children, grandchildren, and all who called him friend.

His laughter is missed. He is missed.

Ron is survived by wife, Judy (DeWitt); daughter Sheila (Paul) Dorsey Vinton, Lincoln, NE, son Jason (Jana), Mission Viejo, CA, and daughter Michelle Dorsey (Aaron), Geneva, NE; grandchildren Graham, Elyse, and Theo Vinton, and Oliver, Elliot, and Avienne Gatzemeyer; brother Keith Dorsey (Mary) and sister Helen Legget (Dan); and many nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents James and Olive Dorsey; brothers-in-law Dave Hatch, Chuck Kennedy, Elton Weidner, Chuck DeWitt, Pat Vendetti, and Max Dykes; and sisters-in-law Marlene Dykes, Sarah Weidner, and  Eleanor Vendetti

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ron Dorsey, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Monday, April 8, 2024

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Mountain time)

Chamberlain Pier Funeral Home

101 N Main St, Gordon, NE 69343

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Starts at 10:00 am (Mountain time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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