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Remembering Dorwan Stoddard

This will be a quick post as its topic is somewhat out of character for my “daddy blog”, but there is something I want to say. By now we’ve all heard more about of the senseless, horrific shooting in Tucson, Arizona than we’d probably care to. Sadly, long after it has faded from the news we will likely remember the shooters name, much as we remember Timothy McVeigh’s name from the Oklahoma City Bombing.

But there are other names we should remember. There are many stories of heroism and heartbreaking stories of loss. These people have names, too. I am the father of a little girl, I can’t even begin to bring myself to contemplate the loss suffered by the family of that 9 year old girl, Christina Green. But this blog isn’t about Christina. It’s about an otherwise average guy named Dorwan Stoddard.

Years from now very few people will remember 76 year old Dorwan Stoddard’s name, but I’d like you to try. Dorwan and his wife Marvy Stoddard first met in the sixth grade back in the 50’s. They married other people, and tragically both were widowed. Later they reunited and married 15 years ago in Tucson. After suffering the loss of their spouses, they had a second chance for love, and thankfully 15 years together.

Dorwan Stoddard - Tucson, Arizona

Dorwan Stoddard

Then the events of last Saturday unfolded and their days together ended. As the shooting started, Dorwan recognized the sound some thought was firecrackers for what it really was and quickly pulled his wife to the ground and threw himself over her. Shot in the legs his wife lived; Dorwan did not. I’d like to think any of us would do that for a loved one. I hope so. So why did I post this?

I posted this because I’d rather we remember the names of heroes and not mass murderers. And, I posted this because Dorwan Stodard’s photo reminded me a bit of my late father. Before their respective deaths both were aging men of average means, living quite lives. In a recent blog I mentioned missing my dad and how I keep my father alive by telling my daughter stories about him and his life.

So if you would, please say a prayer for Marvy Stoddard and for all the family and friends of the victims. And please, forget the name of the guy who shot them. He doesn’t deserve to be remembered. Instead, remember the name Dorwan Stoddard whose final act on this Earth was to give up his life for the woman he loved. He wasn’t rich or famous or remarkable in any outward way. He was just one of us, and he deserves to be remembered.

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  1. Shannon

    When I first saw this picture it made me think of pictures of your dad too. What a remarkable man to have had that kind of bravery.

    Thinking of him and praying for his family. Thanks for pointing him out. He deserved to be remembered.

    Hugs.

    1. Michael Schmid

      Yeah, I know. The receding hair, the beard and over-sized glasses… even the bolo necktie reminds me of my Texas daddy. Thanks, Shannon. I hate the thought that good men like this will be forgotten, but history always seems to remember the mass murderers.

  2. Jersey Diva Mom

    This is a beautiful post. Just reposted to my FB and twiiter. We do need to focus on the victims.

    One of the women who died, Phyllis Schneck, was from the town next to me in NJ and split the year as a snowbird. So random to think this woman who lived in a wooded area here where we ride our bikes was killed in a crazed, senseless act 2500 miles away. So sad for her family.

    You are right to higlight the people who are simply being lumped as “the other victims” and not the monster who ended their lives.

    1. Michael Schmid

      I saw your tweet. Thank you. I’ll add Phyllis Schneck’s family and friends to my prayers. It’s just so senseless. And your right, we need to remember and celebrate the lives of the victims, and support those they left behind.

  3. Danielle

    I wholeheartedly concur. Less media and personal attention to negativity and anger, more towards celebrating those who were selfless and brave and honoring those families in need right now.

    Well written Michael, very good!
    D

    1. Michael Schmid

      Thank you, Danielle. I think it’s possible less focus on the people who commit these heinous acts may even serve to reduce their number. I’m certain in their twisted minds they hope they’ll be immortalized and perhaps martyred to whatever they think their cause is. If the victims were given less press and the victims more… perhaps we could reduce at least one element of the potential incentive behind these acts?

  4. L. Eleana

    I too do not want to remember the guy’s name who did this. We should focus on the victims, the real heroes, and their families. Thanks for bringing us this story.

    1. Michael Schmid

      You’re welcome. I’m very heartened by the support and recognition Mr. Stoddard is rightly receiving. Thanks for dropping by, L. Eleana. It’s always great to see whether it’s on our blogs, Twitter or Facebook!

  5. Renee

    This is a wonderful post. Too often the heroes & victims are forgotten. Lets try not to forget this time.

    1. Michael Schmid

      You’re right, Renee. I was thinking about the tragedy in Oklahoma City, and realized I could only remember the perpetrator’s name. I’d like to see that change. Let’s forget their names and remember the heroes.

  6. Barbara Lambert

    John 15:13

    13Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

    When I first saw this story on the news I thought that man never hesitated, he was willing to die for his wife, his friend. That deserves a few minutes of pause in my life to think of him.

    1. Michael Schmid

      I glad to hear you also noticed this man yourself… one of so many unsung heroes. We probably pass them in the isle at the grocery store… they live down the street from us… they are “us”, or at least the “us” to which we aspire.

  7. Sharon Korkes

    Great post, and great reminder of what makes humanity great: those everyday people who give their most precious asset for another. God bless those Tucson heroes.

    1. Michael Schmid

      God bless all the heroes, making the world a better, safer, happier place… sometimes in very small ways… and usually unnoticed and unthanked. But that doesn’t bother them, because they do what they do because it’s in their character. They would not know how to be any other way.

  8. shopgirl

    This is a wonderful post. You are a skilled writer with a big heart. It’s a joy to read though the content is so somber. I read the articles covering the shooting but never knew what you shared here. What a shame it would have been.

    1. Michael Schmid

      That’s quite nice of you to say. Some of my posts are very much from my heart (this was one of those) and while less calculated or skillfully composed, they seem to flow right on to the page with little effort. I had heard of this man, and wanted to know more about him. As I researched I felt his story was something I wanted to share.

  9. Michelloui

    Wow, what a powerful post. And I completely agree. I really want to write more but Im just sitting here digesting what you wrote.

    And I also agree about keeping your dad alive through stories about him. This is what we do in our family as well.

    Im so pleased to have found your blog. Im a new follower but I shall look forward to coming back to read more.

    1. Michael Schmid

      I am so very happy to have found you as well. Your blog’s intro certainly caught my attention, and I’ll be digging into it more as time permits:

      “My first home in England was a castle. Things have changed since then: now I live in a former pub. But the stale beer smell is gone so put the kettle on and stay a while! I’m having a green tea…”

      Thank you so much for your kind words on this blog. Have a lovely evening… or I guess night by now GMT.

  10. Mitzi@Daily Reflection

    “He wasn’t rich or famous or remarkable in any outward way” Humm, actually when you think about it, he was quite remarkable and rich in a most profound way.

    To sacrifice your life to save another, a loved one, is the ultimate in bravery and unselfishness. His heart indeed was filled with the riches of love for his wife and that heroic action indeed makes him quite remarkable when you consider how few people would likely perform such a selfless act!

    Thank you for posting this! Dorwan Stoddard indeed is a name we should try to remember!

    1. Michael Schmid

      when you think about it, he was quite remarkable and rich in a most profound way…. his heart indeed was filled with the riches of love for his wife and that heroic action indeed makes him quite remarkable…

      Well put, but then you’ve always had a way with words. Thanks for posting a follow up blog on this on your website. Folks should go check that out.

      Have a lovely evening, Mitzi!

  11. Erin

    A beautiful sentiment.

    I am so glad I stumbled over here via “If this is a Motherhood”

    1. Michael Schmid

      Thank you, Erin. And thank you also for your totally adorable Wordless Wednesday post this week. If I were a woman I’d be lactating after looking at all the baby bathing goodness. Have a wonderful evening!

  12. Candace

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention through your beautiful tribute to this hero! May we all remember Dorwan Stoddard’s name and this selfless act of heroism he displayed for the woman he loved. I will be remembering his wife and family in my prayers. I, too, am glad to have found this post. Mitzi at Daily Reflection pointed the way. Thanks, Mitzi!

    1. Michael Schmid

      Ah well, Mitzi is a dear, isn’t she. I’ve known her for years. So nice to make new friends. Thank you for you kind thoughts, Candace, and most of all for your prayers for Dorwan’s wife and family, and that of all the victims.

  13. Grams

    Great blog entry. You’re absolutely right, we should forget the name of the suspect and remember names like Dorwan Stoddard. I saw his story on The Today Show. What a great love story!

    1. Michael Schmid

      Thank you, Grams. Wish I’d seen The Today Show piece. I heard about him briefly on NPR, and then researched him in some papers. You are quite right, “we should forget the name of the suspect and remember names like Dorwan Stoddard.” Thanks again.

  14. Heather

    What a wonderful tribute. I am sure I will not forget his story! As I wrote on my facebook status:

    “To everyone who is calling for stricter gun laws in light of the tragedy in Tucson, may I offer this little tidbit: If guns kill people, then pencils misspell words, cars drive drunk, and spoons made Oprah fat ! Remember: Hold the person accountable for their actions, not the means they chose to utilize!!!”

    May God comfort those who are experiencing loss at this time.

    1. Michael Schmid

      Thank you for your comment, Heather. For some reason my spam filter snagged this, and I just found it. Yes, may God comfort all those who are suffering from such a senseless loss.

  15. JDaniel4's Mom

    I saw his daughters in a press conference on television. What an amazing man! It is wonderful to see him celebrated in this way.

    1. Michael Schmid

      Hi, D. I missed seeing them on the news. I hope I got the facts correct. I was touched by what I heard on the radio and so looked him up in the news. His photo reminds me of my late dad and it’s the type of thing my dad would have done. I think, I hope any of us would. I’m glad his story touches people. It’s worth remembering these are heroes there, quietly among us.

  16. Lori Cooney

    Thank you for sharing such a profound and meaningful post. I agree, we should remember our heroes like Dorwan Stoddard. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    1. Michael Schmid

      Thank you, Lori. I agree. We get to choose each day where we put our focus. Ultimately that becomes our experience of life. While this is a sad story, it’s also one of hope… at least it is to me. It reminds me of the goodness, courage and integrity inside the people around us. There is only so much we can focus on each day in life, so why not make it the positive, hopeful happy things, as much as we can?

  17. Letters From Home

    Great post! I think it’s wonderful that you focused on this hero and not the shooter. When I looked at Dorwan’s pic I thought you can see the strength and kindness in his face and eyes. I will say a prayer for his family. Sorry, I’m not good at tweeting and stuff but I will try to tweet this. Everyone needs to know this man’s name.

    1. Michael Schmid

      That means a lot to me, thank you. That was my motivation writing a post that was otherwise a bit out of character for my blog. I thought about how people remember only the perpetrator of the Oklahoma City Bombings name, but not the heroes and victims. I’m sure Dorwan’s family and friends will appreciate your prayers… and need them.

  18. Kelly @ City Mom

    What an awesome post. And to be honest I don’t know the name of the murderer…perhaps I was already on board with this line of thinking and have blocked that information out.

    I will remember the names of the Stodards and their story. Thanks for brining light to this!

    1. Michael Schmid

      Hello, Kelly.

      I’m happy to have you stop by. Hope you had a great weekend. Mine was three days… and then the students return to university tomorrow and all… well, something breaks loose.

      Glad you are going to remember the Stoddards and not whatever his name was. If everyone focused on the heroes and not the perpetrators it might decrease the bad guys motivation?

      Have a lovely week!

      -Michael (aka: Daddy)

  19. Helen

    This is a beautiful story about a brave man that deserves to be told. I might forget his name but, I will always remember “the man”.

    1. Michael Schmid

      I think that’s the most important thing to remember even if we don’t remember a name, in a world that sometimes seems impersonal and empty of love… there is always love and hope. We must hold that in our hearts to honor all the heroes who have given there all for us, including Mr. Stoddard.

  20. Alicia @MommyDelicious

    So true… I would much rather remember the names of the heroes, than the masses murdered or the shooter. Why give the shooter that power anyway. Let’s take the power away, and focus on the bravery instead.

    1. Michael Schmid

      Why give the shooter that power anyway. Let’s take the power away, and focus on the bravery instead.

      That pretty much says it all. Thanks, Alicia. How’s life in the big city going? Per your recent blog, good for you cleaning up your Facebook presence.

  21. Karlyn Robinson

    Thank you for your beautiful words. I am Dorwan, Dory,s Daughter. Every thing you have read or watched are true. Dad was a God loving God fearing man. He gave his life to save my Mother.Thank you all for your wonderful words of LOVE and KINDNESS. My Mother is doing better each day. I ask for your prayers for all of us and all the other families. Thank You Karlyn.

    1. Michael Schmid

      Dear Karlyn,

      I’m am so sorry for your loss. I was touched by Dory’s story, and wanted to be sure people knew about your father. I had heard he was active in his church, and clearly his selfless act of love in saving your mother speaks volumes about his character. There is little one can say after such a tragic loss… other than we care and are praying your mother, you and your family, and all of the families impacted by this horrible event. And I hope my tiny tribute to this great man I never knew helps slightly. I can tell you literally a thousand people have read this post (I can see statistics that tell me the number of visitors even though most don’t comment). Dorwan Stoddard will not be forgotten. Please wish your Mother a speedy recovery (in all ways) from all of us.

      Kind regards,

      ~Michael, Owner & Editor of A Daddy Blog

  22. biggdawg49

    His brave act of love and courage does make him a remarkable man.

    1. Michael Schmid

      I certainly agree, though I expect his family always found him a remarkable man… far before his heroic act separated him from them.

  23. J C Stoddard

    Thank you for your posted tribute to my late grandpa Dory. He was missed greatly this holiday season as he and Mavy were to be here (Sequim @ my folks) to celebrate with grandpa Dorys side of the family. I will share this with my dad. It is these posts that help bring my dad back to us. He is having a tough time with this as grandpa was the only man for which dad would go to for advise and guidance. And the only person besides my late grandma Arlene, he would listen too,

    Thank you again for your kind words about a man who meant the world to his family and especially my dad. A tough man who wouldn’t go a few days without calling his daddy to talk about work or a construction project he had going at the time. Grandpa Dory helped dad put a huge covered deck on the house. It is so beautiful. Now when the family is out enjoying the deck, he designed and built, I think of grandpa shielding us from the elements as he would with a kind word of advise that help shape us into the great people we are today.

    God Bless you and your family.

    1. Michael Schmid

      Hello, JC. Somehow I missed your comment above. I’m very sorry for taking so long to respond. I hope your dad is doing a little bit better? I cannot imagine how difficult this loss is for all of you. As I read your words about your Grandpa Dory, I see even more clearly what a truly great man he was. Please know that there are many of us all across the country who remember Dory Stoddard and think of him often, even though we never had the honor to meet him in person. He’ll never be forgotten. As I said to Marvy below, he is the type of father and husband I hope to be. He also reminds me a great deal of my late father, so perhaps that’s part of the reason for my affection for him. Sending you and your family prayers and positive thoughts.

  24. Mavy Stoddard

    Thank you all ,including my daughter,Karlyn and grandson. Dory was my world, love. friend. We had the best marriage and life anyone could. He was everything he has been been portrayed. A man who loved God, me,family and our dog,Tux. Thank you all for remembering and I hope, 16 months later you still do. I am doing alright but will always miss him so much. Please keep praying for us. The killer will be sentanceed Nov. 15. Thanks again. I just found this website too. Mavy Stoddard

    1. Michael Schmid

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment, Mrs. Stoddard. I’ll never forget Dorwan. He’s the perfect example of the father and husband I aspire to be. I’m pleased to hear you are doing alright under the circumstances. Sending you and your family love and prayers and positive thoughts.

  25. Michael Schmid

    Thanks for re-tweeting Shannon’s re-tweet Ross. I hope, other than this senseless tragedy weighing on us all, that you are doing well this 2011?

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