“Grateful for Bob Dorr” by Carrie Spencer

Our beloved friend and one of PFLAG Omaha’s founding members, Bob Dorr passed away on January 14th. Bob’s wife Rose, his family and PFLAG family will miss him greatly.

As I write this on Valentine’s Day, I think of Bob with love. John 13:34 tells us “Love each other. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other.” Bob was a deeply Christian man who lived this commandment every day.

Bob had a zest for life and put his energy and passion toward making the world fully inclusive, especially for LGBTQ folks. His work through PFLAG, First United Methodist Church of Omaha and the United Methodist Church’s Reconciling Ministries Network is a testament to that.

My story about Bob and PFLAG is very similar to many other people’s story. We were scared and confused when we first came to PFLAG. I didn’t feel safe enough coming out to my family. PFLAG was my refuge. Bob and other PFLAG parents were the loving and accepting family I needed. Every time I saw Bob he would grin, shake my hand and say “Hello Carrie!” He had an engaging way about him that made you feel special.

Bob filled many roles in our chapter throughout the years. He served as president for several years. A well-respected and award-winning newspaper man for 40 years, he was our newsletter editor and writer. And he also served as our membership chair for quite a while, keeping track of our membership list and mailing out monthly membership reminder letters.

Bob’s life wasn’t without trials. He and his late wife, Betty, both had gay family members they loved and supported. And they knew their family members’ struggles. So when their son, Michael, came out to them as gay they vowed to get active to make the world a better place for their son and all LGBTQ people. And when Michael passed away in 2006, at the depth of their grief, they committed to keep advocating simply saying “we can’t stop now.”

In 2003 Bob & Betty were Omaha’s Pride Parade grand marshals. Bob’s words at the Pride celebration exemplified his devotion to the LGBTQ community: “On behalf of all accepting parents of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender children we say this, if your parents for whatever reason don’t love and accept you just as you are, think of us as your parents. We are honored to be your parents.”

I grieve for my dear friend and mentor. But mostly, I am grateful for his loving leadership by example. And I know that we as a community, with Bob in our hearts, will carry on to make the world fully inclusive. We will carry on to make Bob proud.

Carrie Spencer