Walter E. Dorsett, 55, copy editor for The Sun, Civil War aficionado

August 31, 2002

Walter E. Dorsett, a copy editor for The Sun, was found dead Tuesday at his Waterloo Place apartment in Mount Vernon. He was 55.

Mr. Dorsett, who had worked at The Sun since 2000, had been under treatment for cancer.

Born and raised in Waynesboro, Pa., where he graduated from high school and worked on the school paper, Mr. Dorsett earned a bachelor's degree in English in 1969 from what was then Wake Forest College. He also attended its law school.

He began his newspaper career in 1967 as a part-time phone clerk and intern at the Winston-Salem Journal in North Carolina, and became an editor at age 20. During his 12-year career there, he held positions including copy editor, business editor, acting city editor, editorial writer and Sunday news editor.

He subsequently worked on the staffs of the Lexington Herald-Leader in Kentucky, Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville, St. Petersburg Times, also in Florida, Gannett Suburban Newspapers in Westchester County, N.Y., and The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C.

A genial and scholarly man who had a particular interest in and knowledge of Civil War history, Mr. Dorsett favored hand-tied bow ties and conservative dress. He was remembered by colleagues for his dry wit and agreeable demeanor.

"Walter Dorsett knew grammar and history and a great many other things. In editing, he never confused what was important with what was trivial," said John E. McIntyre, who oversees the copy desk as an assistant managing editor of The Sun. "He loved newspapering, he loved to laugh, and was a good man to have at your side."

Plans for a memorial service were incomplete yesterday.

He is survived by his mother, Florence B. Dorsett of Chambersburg, Pa.; two brothers, David A. Dorsett and Todd A. Dorsett, both of Waynesboro; and a sister, Julie Gray Dorsett of Chambersburg.

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