Profile Photo
Tom Cleaver
912 articles

RIP Robert F. Dorr 1939-2016

June 14, 2016 · in Uncategorized · · 9 · 2K

Damn! What a month this is!

Robert F. Dorr: August 11, 1939 - June 13, 2016

There is no writer who ever lived who did not become a writer except through the assistance of those who came before. When I consider my own career, the names are legion, and I’m not going to “name drop”here.

But one of the most important was Robert F. Dorr. The man was the definition of “prolific,” and I long, long, long ago learned that if an article or a book had his name on it, it had to be read because the author’s name was the guarantee of value. My bookshelf of “Robert F. Dorr books” is abut six feet long.

Fifteen years ago, I opened my e-mail that day to find an e-mail addressed to me from Bob Dorr. He’d read an article of mine in Flight Journal, and then run across my writing at Modeling Madness. The message was: “You have to do more of this. You’re good at it.” When you get a message like that from someone you respect as much as I did Bob, you’d best take it to heart.

I did. We often found ourselves in the same issue of Flight Journal, and we’d e-mail back and forth about it. About ten years ago, I got a phone call from him on a Sunday afternoon. He liked to talk to fellow writers who he thought might have something to say, on Sunday afternoons. What a compliment that I ended up on the list! There’s writing, and then there is Being A Writer. Two different things. Bob liked talking about Being A Writer and what that meant, what one’s responsibilities were to the craft and the profession. The only other writer I got more from in conversations was Billy Wilder, and it’s a pretty close score between the two of them.

I loved that he was happy to see my success as I followed his suggestion to “do more of this.” I look at his reviews of my books up at my Amazon page as medals.

God I love being a Writer, but most of all, I enjoy the friendships of my comrades in arms.

The world is a dimmer place without Bob Dorr and his enthusiasm for writing in it.

Reader reactions:
4  Awesome

9 responses

  1. A real legend in his own right. To me one of the TRUE authorities on anything aviation related. I myself have many of his books and his passing is a GREAT loss. This is a black week indeed! RIP

  2. Sad day indeed.. I met Bob at a book signing of his Hell Hawks book back in March of 2009 at the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum. Will be missed.

  3. How very sad to learn of the passing of Bob Dorr. He was a fine person and a talented and prolific writer who shared his love of aviation with us all through his numerous books and photography. May he rest in peace.

  4. He leaves a big hole. Sorry to hear of his passing.

  5. Tom, if this current trend continues we'll have to have a new Catagory here: in Memoriam.

    Great tribute.

  6. Indeed, the books from this legend are also on my bookshelf.
    May he rest in peace.

  7. Tom, a very nice tribute. My wife, Kathleen, and Robert Dorr became “writer friends” back in the early 1990’s after she published a few pieces in Air Force Times (he was a frequent writer for them on aviation history subjects). He was very supportive of her writing career and they talked quite often on the phone...the last call was just before he died. He was a true gentleman.

Leave a Reply