Anyone who has spent much time studying the narrow gauge railroads of southern Colorado has likely come across library books by Richard L. Dorman. His books were often tied to the lines and cities and towns that were born of the railroads of the Rio Grande and the Rio Grande Southern. Dorman became enamored with the narrow gauge after a 1973 trip aboard the Denver & Rio Grande Western's fabled Silverton train. He began to collect photographs, especially of the Rio Grande Southern, only 20 years gone at the time. As a result, he met a lot of the RGS engineers and wives who had photograph collections.
Eventually, his collection approached 25,000 images consisting mostly of black and white prints and color negatives, many of which made it into his books, although most of those are out of print and command heavy prices. The pictures were donated to the Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec facility in Albuquerque, NM.
According to his obituary, Dorman was born in 1922 and adopted as a baby. He became a pilot in WWII, piloting bomber missions over the Pacific theater in his B-24, named Tropic Knight on 35 missions over heavily defended targets. After the war, Dorman went on to become a highly respected architect in LA and then Santa Fe, He was even featured on the cover of Life magazine in 1962. A deacon at the First Baptist Church of Santa Fe, he was known as a man "passionate about family, friends, church, architecture, trains and life."
According to the announcement by Curt Bianchi of the Friends of the C&TS, Dorman passed away on Saturday, April 3. He was 87 years old. A memorial service will take place at The First Baptist Church on Old Santa Fe Trail, at 11:00 am, on Saturday, April 10, 2010.
To Richard. Dorman, thank you for your service to your country and thank you for preserving such a valuable history!