David Spencer Dorsey, born Feb. 1, 1941 in Santa Barbara, passed away, with family by his side, on Sept. 22, 2022, in Anthem, Arizona.
The longest-lived male Dorsey decedent, David, or “Dave,” was born to Thomas and Marjorie Dorsey. The second son of a traditional Irish Catholic family, young Dave was sent to the monastery to continue the customs and support of the Church. David was the brother to seven sisters, Phyllis, Mary Ann, Carol, Theresa, Claudia, Patsy and Marjorie; and two brothers, Thomas and Louis.
Upon graduating St. Anthony’s Seminary, Dave started the summer working at the local Regal Gas Station. During that time, a young Santa Barbara High School graduate, Sharon Liddell, would go out of her way and make sure to always get her gas at only that station, as she put it “for the hot attendant.”
After finding the love of his life, Dave did not go on to the priesthood. He and Sharon married after a short courtship on Nov. 5, 1960, at the Santa Barbara Mission. A rainy day only proved to shower their growing relationship, which after 50 years would prove the test of time.
Upon starting his family and on recommendation from his father-in-law, Sheriff’s Sgt. Charles Liddell, Dave joined the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office and the start of a lifetime career. Dave began at the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office Dec. 3, 1962, working patrol before being promoted to sergeant, Oct. 1, 1968.
His tenure with law enforcement would span many more promotions, receiving his associates degree from Santa Barbara City College, graduating from the FBI Academy, and ending his 36 1/2 years serving as undersheriff, retiring March 31, 1999.
“Undersheriff Dorsey” was recognized many times for his service, including the H. Thomas Guerry Award for Outstanding Performance, Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office Distinguished Service Award, and Santa Barbara County Manager of the Year.
Dave settled his family into his longtime residence off Walnut Lane in the Goleta Valley, where he would call home for over 50 years with his wife Sharon. They would both watch, as Dave’s career and family would grow. It wasn’t long before settling into their San Fernando Drive neighborhood, that the newlywed couple would welcome daughters Cheri, Catherine, Charlene, and then their son David.
“David Senior” took an active role in family summer vacations to June Lake, or as Santa, handing out presents at Christmas time to family and friends; the latter of which would become a tradition for “Grandpa Dave” and “Great Grandpa Dave,” as Dave and Sharon would end up having nine grandchildren: Cherise (Lauren), Travis, Ryan, Megan (Nicholas), Austin (Rebecca), Clint, Garrett, Chad and Hannah; and six great grandchildren: Brayden, Shaddon, Lyla, Grayson, Emersyn and Oliver.
Whether it was with his kids in 4-H or Cub Scouts, or coaching his grandkids, Dave could often be found helping in the community, and most often behind a grill. Dave contributed many hours over two generations at the Goleta Valley South Little League Fields, coaching, maintaining fields, and fundraising, as well as serving as president of the organization. Dave was a crucial member of the team to fundraise, build, and utilize the Ben “Page” Youth Center.
Never far from a field Dave spent many days cooking for the San Marcos and Dos Pueblos Athletic Programs, barbecuing with his buddies “Red” and Pete Vanetti. Together they served up many tri-tip dinners to the varsity football, baseball, basketball, water polo, and softball teams.
Dave spent his later summer’s barbecuing for the Goleta Valley Girls Softball Association, where he was also a contributing member to the creation and funding of the Youth Softball Fields at Dos Pueblos High School.
Not even cancer could stop Dave from barbecuing and fundraising for the community. Both he and Sharon upon their cancer diagnosis would become active participants and organizers of the Santa Barbara Relay for Life, and the Santa Barbara American Cancer Society where he received honors.
Ten years later after his retirement Dave would lose the love of his life Sharon to her battle with cancer. Dave spent his time with family, and giving back to the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office, where he sat on the Blue-Ribbon Committee under Sheriff Bill Brown, to research the design, budget, funding and building of the Northern Branch Jail Facility.
Dave would find love and companionship again, one that would last for the rest of his years, with his wife Marion Murray. They wed on a sunny day at the Santa Barbara Courthouse, surrounded by both their families and friends, celebrating with a reception at the former Four Seasons Biltmore Hotel.
Dave and Marion would spend the next chapter of their lives in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, living life to its fullest, and traveling the world together and with family. Dave enjoyed spending many Friday mornings in Myrtle Beach hanging with his buddies during their weekly “gentleman’s breakfast.”
Dave and Marion both enjoyed a neighborhood filled with great friends, hosting lots of parties, and entertaining visiting family. They would eventually move to a new home in Anthem, Arizona, to be closer to family.
Dave leaves behind his wife Marion, and his four kids Cheri (Troy) Davis, Catherine Dorsey, Charlene Dorsey, and David Dorsey; his stepchildren, Barbara (David), Mary (Chris), Melissa (Andrew) and Michael; his nine grandchildren, six step grandchildren, and six great grandchildren.
Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 12 at Welch-Ryce Haider Funeral Home, 450 Ward Drive, Santa Barbara. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Ridley-Tree Cancer Center or your local Hospice organization.