Howard Dorman was born March 6, 1932 at Earlham. He was the third of six children, three boys and three girls, born to Harriet and Herman Dorman. He died Aug. 25, 2021 at Bickford Cottage in Marion at the age of 89 due to complications from Alzheimer’s disease.
Public funeral services will be held Thursday, Sept. 2 at 11 a.m. at the Belmond-Klemme High School softball field. The Reverends Katie Pals and Rod Hopp will be officiating. Burial with military honors will be in the Belmond Cemetery. Public visitation will be Wednesday from 5-7 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in Belmond and will continue one hour prior to the service at the ball field. Howard’s family suggests those who are comfortable wearing a mask consider doing so out of respect to one another.
Howard met Uralee Walk at Iowa State Teachers College (now UNI). He enjoyed telling the story of how he caught her attention by throwing little pebbles toward her before she finally took notice. They lost touch while Howard served in the Army, but reconnected and married on June 16, 1957. The marriage endured nearly 53 years until Lee died in April 2010.
Howard served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War era, but was a Cold Warrior, a member of a unit charged with deploying an atomic cannon in Europe. The huge artillery piece was designed to lob atomic shells at invading Communists. Fortunately, they never came.
Howard was probably best known as a successful high school softball and girls’ basketball coach. In softball he compiled a 1,019-429 record at Woden-Crystal Lake and Belmond-Klemme, led 11 teams to the state tournament, and won state titles in 1962 and 1963. He was named National Softball Coach of the Year in 1997, joined the Iowa Softball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1992, and coached 18 all-state players. In basketball he took Belmond teams to the six-on-six state tournament in 1976, 1977, 1978 and 1979. In 1977, Belmond knocked off No. 1 Ankeny 64-48.
But for all of those impressive statistics, Howard’s lasting legacy is the scores of students he nurtured, supported and taught over decades of coaching, teaching and working as a guidance counselor. Many reached out over the years to tell him how playing on his teams shaped their lives for the better. They saw him as more than a coach. He was a mentor who taught them lessons that proved valuable far beyond the softball diamond.
Howard was a worker. He rose early to teach driver education, tend to his softball diamond, or meet young pitchers in the gym to hone their skills. After practices and games he would arrive home after dark. For several years he led corn detasseling crews. He not only coached high school sports but also coached fall middle school softball for several years and helped out with other programs. He worked in the yard, washed cars, and cut piles of wood for his stove.
He was a volunteer. Howard was active in the Lions Club, served on the Belmond Ambulance Crew for many years, was elected to a term on the school board, and drove the Care Car. An avid waterfowl hunter, Howard was a leader in the local Ducks Unlimited chapter. Beyond those efforts he volunteered in countless other ways.
He was a father and a grandfather, pulling his grandkids around in a cart behind his lawn tractor, flying kites with them in a nearby open field on Easter Sunday, helping them improve their athletic skills, and watching them climb the many trees he planted in the yard over the years.
His yard, by the way, was immaculate. He tended to a large rose garden, knowing his wife enjoyed flowers.
Lee would insist there was no need to buy her a present on various holidays and occasions, but he smartly never listened and always came through with a gift. He tagged along on her shopping trips even though it wasn’t exactly his favorite pastime. They enjoyed each other’s company, even when they didn’t quite see eye-to-eye.
And now they’ll be back together. What a reunion that will be, although she may demand to know what took him so long.
Howard was preceded in death by his wife Lee; his parents; and sister Shirley McClure.
He is survived by his sons Joel (Lori Koop) of Pella and Todd (Katherine) of Marion; grandchildren Ashley Dorman (Brian Washburn) of Minneapolis, Jenny Dorman (Jake Highfill) of West Des Moines, Nick Dorman of West Des Moines, Jake Dorman of Des Moines, and Tess and Ella Dorman of Marion; siblings Lowell Dorman (Nedra) of Phoenix, AZ, Dixie Madsen (Bill) of Cedar Falls, Jim Dorman of Casa Grande, AZ, and Carol Thacker (Carter) of Bossier City, LA.
Memorials are suggested to the Belmond-Klemme Booster Klub, Belmond-Klemme Scholarship Foundation II, or Ducks Unlimited.