Milnor mourns loss of its school spirit
MILNOR, N.D. -- Lu Dorr couldn't put into words what her husband's proudest achievement was. Just outside Dahlstrom Funeral Home, she gazed onto a quiet gravel street Wednesday, battling emotions and searching for the right answer. "He wasn't a b...
MILNOR, N.D. -- Lu Dorr couldn't put into words what her husband's proudest achievement was.
Just outside Dahlstrom Funeral Home, she gazed onto a quiet gravel street Wednesday, battling emotions and searching for the right answer.
"He wasn't a bragger. He just quietly went about his business," Dorr said about her husband, Glenn, 57, who died Monday after an 11-month cancer battle.
But the kind words of his grieving wife only begin to touch the legacy Glenn Dorr left behind in this Sargent County town of about 700 people.
For 20 years, he served as Milnor High School principal. And his willingness to go beyond the administrative job description are what set him apart as an educator, friends and colleagues said.
"Everybody in the region knew him. He loved to teach and had so much compassion," said local teacher Ivan Miller, as he fought back tears Wednesday.
Glenn Dorr's funeral is at 2 p.m. today at the Milnor Lutheran Church.
Family members said Glenn Dorr regularly called students, making sure they made it to school.
And his booming voice echoed through the school as he often filled in as a substitute teacher.
"I'd say his biggest achievement is every kid that's gone through this school and made something of their lives," said son-in-law Jason Gooding.
Glenn Dorr often sat in for bus drivers on their morning routes or when sports teams had away games, his family said.
Sometimes, those trips were with teams he coached. Aside from his duties as principal and athletic director, Glenn Dorr helped coach varsity football, junior high basketball and track.
In the late 1980s, he played a fundamental role in getting the Milnor Track Complex built, donating countless hours of volunteer labor, his family said.
In 1998, he was recognized as district, regional and state athletic director of the year.
If he wasn't coaching or driving bus, Glenn Dorr made it to nearly every sporting event in his faded 1977 Ford pickup, jokingly referred to as the "gray ghost."
"I used to tell him in the fall, 'I'll see you in the spring,'" Lu Dorr quipped about the amount of time her husband spent with school activities.
But no matter how busy he was, Glenn Dorr managed time with his family.
"He was always pushing us to try new things," said daughter Kimberly Gooding, one of six children.
After 30 plus years of teaching in North Dakota, Glenn Dorr retired in 2000, spending time farming and continuing involvement with the Bison Booster Club, Milnor Lutheran Church and other community organizations.
In June 2000, he was elected to the Milnor City Council, even though he wasn't on the ballot. The next year, he came out of retirement to fill a principal and teacher vacancy in Wyndmere, just down Highway 13.
"He didn't have to do it, but he just loved kids so much," Lu Dorr said.
It took renal cell carcinoma, a kidney cancer, to slow Glenn Dorr down last year.
In February, about 1,000 people came here for a benefit to raise money for his cancer treatments.
Cards came from all over the country, from friends and former students giving the kind of encouraging words Glenn Dorr doled out here for two decades.
For a man many in the community agreed should be the last to battle cancer, family said Glenn Dorr always kept his spirits high, despite the hard circumstances.
"I'm sad, but it's hard to be," Lu Dorr said. "I know he would want us to be happy."
Readers can reach Forum reporter Nick Kotzea at (701) 235-7311