Monroe Sylvester Dorsey was born to the late Carroll and Dolly Dorsey on March 4, 1940, in Washington, DC. He was the fourth of nine children and was raised in Bowie, MD. He was called to eternal rest on Saturday, September 16, 2023.
Monroe graduated from Fairmont Heights High School. He worked for the Federal Government as a printer in the United States Department of the Interior for over 30 years. After retiring from the government, Monroe began working as a custodian at the United States Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington, DC. He was well known by several of the residents at the home and was even considered a surrogate caregiver to a few of them. Monroe retired from this last job in 2019 after 20 years of service.
Monroe met his future wife Jeanette Theresa Ennis not long after graduating from high school. They were married on July 4, 1964, but unfortunately his beloved father passed before this momentous day. His union with Jeanette spanned a little over 59 years and produced their only child, a daughter Tiffiney who was born in 1977. Monroe worked tirelessly to provide his family with security and a comfortable lifestyle.
Monroe was drafted into the military and served in the United States Army from October 30, 1963 to October 29, 1969. He was stationed at various military bases including Fort Benning (Columbus, Georgia), Fort Jackson (Columbia, South Carolina) and Fort Sam Houston (San Antonio, Texas), though he was never involved in wartime conflict. His service was marked by achieving status as an Expert with the M-14 Rifle. After being honorably discharged, Monroe was active during Veteran’s Day events where he wore his uniform, walked in parades, and participated in wreath laying ceremonies.
Monroe was the epitome of someone with a green thumb. He excelled at everything involving the outdoors such as planting trees, shrubbery, flowers, and seeds for vegetable gardens. Landscaping and a well-manicured lawn were also of importance to him as he always took immense pride in the appearance of his yard. His attention to detail and symmetry was unparalleled. At one point in time, Monroe managed a few large-scale gardens including one in his yard, his mother’s yard, and his grandmother’s yard. He grew corn, string beans, tomatoes, squash, beets, onions, and kale. Harvested crops were shared with family, friends, and neighbors.
Monroe was an antique car collector and enthusiast. He became a collector in the early 1990s and over the course of 30 years his collection included a variety of makes and models spanning from a 1918 Ford Model T to a 1966 Chevy Impala. His interest in antique cars led him to become a member of the Cars Unlimited car club of Washington, DC. Monroe also attended car shows where he received several trophies. One of the antique cars he previously owned, a 1948 Buick, was even used in lieu of a limousine for the wedding of cousin with him as the chauffeur.
Monroe was known for hosting summer cookouts for the Fourth of July and Labor Day annually for 20 years, after moving to his most recent home in the late 1990s. He relished the opportunity to gather family, friends, and neighbors for fried fish, fun, and fellowship. Occasionally a few local city politicians would attend at the invitation of their favorite constituent. Cars Unlimited car club members were also known to make appearances at the cookouts, which often resulted in a small-scale antique car show. Monroe found his enjoyment in smiles, laughter and good times had by the guests. He was at the helm of the deep fryer with his traditional cap, apron, and tongs as he fried fish, refilled coolers, and mingled with guests to a soundtrack of oldies and current songs as people reminisced.
Monroe participated in community events, which primarily involved Duckettsville Day. He served as a committee member and was instrumental in the planning and execution of the day from the first celebration in 1989 and the couple of decades that followed. He was involved with every detail and even ensured the grounds were up to par even if that meant him taking care of any additional lawn mowing and tree trimming that was needed. The annual event was an opportunity for the older, younger, and former residents of Old Bowie and Duckettsville to engage in a community reunion known for fried fish sandwiches, oldies and go-go music, line dancing, and games in Huntington North Park.
Monroe was also involved in other community activities. As part of the Duckettsville Day committee, he participated in the Adopt-a-Highway program. Monroe was an avid recycler and hauled aluminum cans to the recycling facility, which was long before there were weekly neighborhood pickups for recyclables. He was active in working to successfully block the expansion of the Sandy Hill Landfill in Bowie, MD, which would have impacted the land where his home and several neighbors lived on Duckettown Road. Monroe also engaged in politics at the local level, as he established relationships with many city and county politicians and assisted with their election and re-election campaigns.
Monroe’s life can be characterized by words such as doer, giver, caretaker, worker, gardener, landscaper, mechanic, handyman, inventor, builder, fixer, helper, handler, repairer, mender, provider, contributor, supporter, and adviser. His boundless energy lasted from sunup to sundown with little mention of breaks or rest. Despite all was able to accomplish in a single day, no one can ever say he expressed being tired or wanting to quit. Monroe could work circles around others as they sat and contemplated what to do and how to get it done. Through example he impressed upon others the importance of service and action, rather than being idle and passive.
Monroe was preceded in death by his parents, Carroll and Dolly Dorsey; brothers Milton Dorsey and Bernard Dorsey; and sister Mary Francis Odom. He leaves to cherish his memory, his wife Jeanette T. Dorsey; daughter Tiffiney N. Dorsey; four sisters, Shirley Hendricks, Jean Dorsey, Louise Barton, and Connie Dorsey; one brother, Melvin Dorsey; and a host of other relatives and friends.