Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

Henry Ivan Dorsett
World War II Veteran (Army), Federal Agent, Antelope Valley Senior Citizen of the Year (2000)
Brother of Lillian Curtis (St. Francis Dam Disaster)

WATCH: Legacy: Henry Ivan Dorsett: Witness to the St. Francis Dam Disaster


Henry Ivan Dorsett, a member of an Antelope Valley pioneer family, went to the Lord on November 10, 2004, where he joined his beloved wife of 53 years, Iris, who passed away in April 1990. He is survived by a sister, Claudia Avis Carney of Palm Desert, California.

Known as Uncle Ivan to his family and "Hank" to many friends and business associates, he arrived at the age of three in 1913 with his family and settled on a 200-acre homestead at Fairmont on the western edge of the Antelope Valley. He attended elementary school in a one-room schoolhouse in Fairmont, Antelope Valley High School in Lancaster and attended the Agriculture College at Davis for two years, majoring in dairy farming.

After working on a number of farms, he joined the postal service in 1932 covering a route from Lancaster to Lebec. In 1936 he joined the Challenge Creamery in Los Angeles and was inducted into the Army in 1943 where he served with the Twenty-Fourth Infantry Division in the South Pacific. After the invasion of New Guinea he stayed on that island for ten months in the occupation force.

Upon his return and after a four-month treatment in two Army hospitals, he became a federal investigator for the Long Beach Naval Shipyard, ultimately becoming the agent in charge until his retirement in August, 1977. During his career he became well known in the Harbor area to many law enforcement agencies.

During his entire life Ivan promoted the Antelope Valley but after his retirement he became a leader in senior citizen programs, serving as president of the AVTA Senior Citizens Advisory to L.A. County and worked closely with County Supervisor Mike Antonovich. He was instrumental in developing the Lancaster Senior Center and the formation of the Dial-a-Ride in the Valley. Many times he served as Master of Ceremonies at Senior Citizens Days at the Fairgrounds and for nearly twenty years was the official greeter at the annual Old Timers Picnic.

In 2000 Ivan was honored as Senior Citizen of the Year for the Antelope Valley.

Ivan was a great proponent of service to his fellow man and to that end he served in many capacities. He was a past president of the Inglewood Chapter of the Disabled American Veterans, a lifetime member of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, a past president of the Antelope Valley chapter of AARP, a member of Elks Lodge #1625, a Master Mason of Lodge #437 and the Loyal Order of Moose.

Other organizations he belonged to are Kern Antelope Historical Society, Rockwell Rod and Gun Club, L.A. County District Attorney Investigators Association, and a lfie member of the National Association of Retired Federal Employees.

Ivan's life journey touched many, many lives and he will be especially missed by his numerous nieces and nephews.

Services will be held at the Mumaw Mortuary in Lancaster, California on Thursday, November 18, 2004, at 1 p.m. Interment will follow at the Lancaster Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Los Angeles Childrens Hospital.

Click to enlarge. Henry Ivan Dorsett's father, Oscar O. Dorsett, filed a homestead claim on a quarter-section of 160 acres next to the LADWP Fairmont Reservoir which was granted May 3, 1920. (Actually it was two quarter-quarter sections and one half-quarter section — the lower/southerly three squares on this map — which surveyed at 152.66 acres. On November 8, 1928, a second patent was issued for an additional quarter-quarter section of 40 acres (actually 40.82 acres) — the "north 40" on this map. The homestead house, which has a built date of 1920 in Los Angeles County Assessor records but which is probably a few years older, is located at the eastern edge of the property (the eastern edge of the easternmost square).

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