(Sept. 14, 1914–Feb. 19, 2003). Born in Hanson, Kentucky, Dortch moved with his family to Indianapolis after his father landed a job at Marmon Motor Car Company (see Nordyke And Marmon). In 1931, he graduated from Valley Mills High School (it and West Newton High School consolidated to form Decatur Central High School in 1932). He later earned an AB from DePauw University in 1936, an MA from the University of Cincinnati in 1938, and a graduate degree from Harvard Business School in 1944.

During his junior year at DePauw University, Dortch began working at the Indianapolis Chamber Of Commerce. His first full-time job at the Chamber was in the research analysis department. He later became the organization’s director of government research.

After serving in the Army Air Forces during World War II, Dortch returned to the Chamber of Commerce. He advanced through the organization by becoming assistant general manager in 1950, general manager in 1962, executive vice president in 1964, and president in 1966.

During the late 1960s, Dortch was part of the Republican Action Committee, an informal group of city leaders that helped design unigov. He also served on a seven-member commission to study the reorganization of Indianapolis and Marion County schools.

In 1979, Dortch retired from the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce after 42 years at the organization. His next job was special assistant to glenn w. irwin jr., then vice president of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (Iupui).

Dortch held numerous directorships throughout his life, including at the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee (GIPC), Stanley K. Lacy Executive Leadership Series, White River State Park Development Commission, United Way Of Central Indiana, Indianapolis Area Chapter of the American Red Cross, Indianapolis Urban League, Starlight Musicals, Meridian Hills Country Club, and Indianapolis Athletic Club.

He also received several awards and recognitions for his civic activities, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s John N. Van der Vries Award for Outstanding Community Service (1947) and Distinguished Service Award (1949), “Man of the Year” by the Indianapolis Times (1888-1965) (1956) and Indianapolis Press Club, and three Sagamore of the Wabash awards (1971, 1974, and 1980).

Revised March 2021

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