Nathaniel Marshall Dorcus, Sr. peacefully departed to eternal life on Friday, November 6, 2020 at Birch Gardens Assisted Living, Staunton, Virginia. Nathaniel was born on August 11, 1936 in Waynesboro, Virginia to John Franklin Dorcus and Janie Anne Empy Dorcus. He grew up in Covington, Virginia and Waynesboro, Virginia, where he attended Rosenwald School. Nathaniel joined the United States Air Force and after completing Air Traffic Control School in Mississippi, he was stationed at Orly Air Base, France. He was the recipient of the Armed Forces Longevity Service Award and the Good Conduct Medal. He also attended the University de Nancy in Nancy, France where he studied French, Political Science and Psychology. Following his military service, Nathaniel resided in New York City with his sister, Leona. He relocated to Virginia and met Rosalind at a New Year’s Eve party in Covington. They married and resided in Philadelphia and later moved to Waynesboro where they raised their three children. Nathaniel worked in manufacturing at E.I. Dupont de Nemours Company, Virginal Panel Corporation and Thiokol Chemical Company Fibers Division. He later worked in maintenance at the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Corrections – Academy for Staff Development for until he retired. He also served as a poll worker on Election Day for many years because he believed voting was a fundamental right for African Americans. It was during his time in the service that Nathaniel came to love jazz music and traveling. He had fond memories of playing the bass in a band and seeing well known African American musicians perform throughout Europe. His favorite jazz musicians included Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Cannonball Adderley. He also traveled to various countries, including Switzerland, Denmark, and the Netherlands. Nathaniel always enjoyed spending quality time and talking with all of his family and friends. He also enjoyed discussing professional and college sports, politics and current events, the weather forecast (every single day!), lottery results, and Jeopardy questions with his children. He always inquired of his beloved children’s daily activities and well-being up until the time of his transition from this life. He cherished visiting his children in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and this past winter, he spent several months with them with a little twisting of his arm to leave Virginia. In his earlier life, he enjoyed attending baseball games at Yankee Stadium, performances at the Apollo Theater, playing ping pong, and shooting pool. He was an avid sports fan and endlessly enjoyed watching professional basketball, football, and baseball as well as college basketball (and was excited that the University of Virginia Cavaliers won the National Championship in 2019!). A native of Waynesboro, he could rarely walk down a street or go into a store without running into someone he knew from various times in his life. He was known for his gentle demeanor, kind words, generous smile, and wit. Nathaniel was preceded in death by his father, John Franklin Dorcus, his mother, Janie Anne Empy Dorcus and his siblings, Leona Dorcus Cash, Edward Dorcus, John Dorcus, Jr., and George Empy. He is survived by his wife, Rosalind Fitzpatrick Dorcus; daughter, Inga L. Dorcus; son, Nathaniel M. Dorcus, Jr.; daughter, Natasha L. Dorcus, Esquire; brother, Charles William Dorcus (Helen) of Hacienda Heights, California; as well as a host of nieces, nephews, extended family and friends.
The family will receive friends on Saturday, November 14, 2020 from 11:00am to 12:00pm at Charlton and Groome Funeral Home, followed by a memorial service at 12:30pm at Charlton and Groome Funeral Home. An inurnment at Arlington National Cemetery Columbarium will be private and schedule in the future.
In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to Alzheimer’s Association Central and Western Chapter, 1160 Pepsi Place, Suite 306, Charlottesville, VA 22901 or American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 42040, Oklahoma City, OK 73123.
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Alzheimers Association, Central and Western Virginia Chapter
1160 Pepsi Place, Suite 306, Charlottesville, VA 22901,
Tel: Donate by phone: (434) 973-6122, ext. 113