William E. Dorsett, 69, heart association worker

April 08, 2002

William Edward Dorsett, a retired American Heart Association employee, died of pneumonia Friday at Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air. He was 69.

Mr. Dorsett worked for the Baltimore Police Department from 1957 to 1967, most of the time as a juvenile officer -- trying to keep young people out of trouble. He then worked for the city's anti-poverty program, first as a neighborhood counselor, then as assistant director of the fuel program, helping low-income families get heating fuel.

In the 1970s, Mr. Dorsett joined the American Heart Association as a field worker. Among the programs he organized was Jump Rope for Heart, an aerobic event in which he encouraged all Harford County elementary schools to participate.

"That was his favorite because the kids loved it and he loved kids," said his wife, the former Susan Parker.

After he retired from the American Heart Association in the late 1980s or early 1990s, Mr. Dorsett worked as a real estate appraiser. He gardened wherever he lived, most recently in Forest Hill, where he grew tomatoes, kohlrabi and other vegetables.

He was especially proud of his academic accomplishments, completed over 12 years around his full-time work schedule. In the 1960s and '70s, he earned a bachelor of science degree and a double master's degree -- in political science and social work -- from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Raised at General German Orphan Home in Catonsville, Mr. Dorsett graduated from Polytechnic Institute in 1952. He joined the military soon after and served in the Army Corps of Engineers for two years, stationed mostly in Germany.

Services will be at 10 a.m. today at St. Alban's Anglican Church, 1011 Old Joppa Road, Joppa.

In addition to his wife of 36 years, Mr. Dorsett is survived by a brother, Thomas Dorsett of Joppa; a sister, Jane Day of Pittsburgh; a son, Parker Dorsett of Bel Air; two daughters, Susan Olsen of Hughesville and Mary Kruszka of Crofton; and four grandchildren.

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