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Michael H. Dormody
Michael H. Dormody, 82, passed away Friday, July 11, 2014, after a long battle with cancer. He led an extraordinary life. Born Oct. 3, 1931 at his family's Monterey Hospital, he was delivered by his father, Dr. Horace Dormody.
He grew up in Carmel, where he attended Sunset School and graduated from Carmel High School in 1950. He was proud of his membership in the 12th Street gang, well known for their practical jokes up and down Dolores Street. He acquired a lifelong love for the out-of-doors early in his childhood. He was an avid fisherman, who developed his passion for fly-fishing on the areas many local streams and rivers. He would sometimes pay penance to his Carmel High School teachers for ditching their class by bringing them fish from the day's catch. He attended MPC and the University of Nevada, Reno. He joined the Navy in 1952, serving on the George Clymer during the Korea War and the Aircraft Carrier, Coral Sea, in the Mediterranean after the War. He returned to Carmel where he started a small construction company, Dormody Equipment and Supply. He supplied the area's burgeoning golf courses with top soil, sand and Carmel Stone from his quarry in Carmel Valley, now part of September Ranch. His company pioneered many of the roads and driveways to the more remote houses being built along the Big Sur Coast in the 1950s, including the access road to the Esalen Institute.
In 1956, he married his lifelong love, Donna Dickson of Piedmont. Together they raised four children. In 1960, they scraped together enough money for a deposit to purchase the Old McFadden Ranch in Carmel Valley. Here he started the recreational cabin area San Clemente Rancho. Promoting it to every friend and acquaintance he knew, he marketed memberships to the Rancho for the sake of "Civil Defense, as an investment, and a vacation spot close to home". For the next 55 years, Mike and Donna dedicated their lives to creating a place for families to gather, have fun, and create enduring memories in the wilderness cabin setting of the Santa Lucia Mountains. Thousands of families have benefited from his vision and creation of San Clemente Rancho. A child's first fish caught from Trout Lake, swimming at the pool area, tennis, family hikes, summer pot luck BBQs and his famous 4th of July Parade were all made possible through his dedication and hard work.
Mike will always be remembered for his tenacious personality and unique ideas. From wanting a "Kids Jail" in the redwoods for the bad boys at the pool area (an idea never implemented), to a self cleaning lake which never silts up (which has worked beautifully for the last 50 years!), his ideas were always inventive if not practical. He was a true original with a quick wit, and a lively sense of humor who loved a good story, a good meal, and good friends; preferable all at once.
Michael is survived by his wife, Donna of Carmel Valley; children, Kathleen of Sacramento, Hank, Erik and Bruce of Carmel Valley; grandchildren, Oliver, Joshua, and Daniel, and sister, Pamela Smith of Carmel. He will be missed.
A celebration of his life will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. Friday, August 1, 2014, at the Rancho's Pool area.
Arrangements: The Paul Mortuary, www.thepaulmortuary.com
Published in The Salinas Californian on July 17, 2014