By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — Dale Van Dorp, the man known as “The Voice of Dearborn” died May 10 after a long battle with cancer. He was 62.
Van Dorp’s fan page posted the news on its website with the passing occurring at 10:30 p.m. The post read, “Your fans and friends salute you and your tremendous life as an actor, director, citizen of Dearborn and most importantly, a good and decent man in our community.
Van Dorp was known around Dearborn through his involvement in various jobs and activities.
He began working for the city in the Recreation and Parks Department in 1976 and became the official city events announcer in 1979.
“Dale was an employee of our Recreation and Parks Department for 44 years, holding multiple roles, such as Fine Arts Coordinator and Theater House Manager,” said Jessica Carreras digital media coordinator for the city’s Department of Public Information.
Van Dorp was best known for his role with the city as the master of ceremonies of the Dearborn Homecoming festival, Music Under the Stars concerts and the annual Tree-Lighting ceremony and sing-along at City Hall and the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center.
He attended Edsel Ford High School and graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a dual degree in speech and dramatic arts.
Van Dorp went on to work in the cultural arts program at Henry Ford College and also teach speech at the college.
Van Dorp then worked as house manager at the Michael A. Guido Theater, managing the ushers.
He was also a charter member of the Dearborn Theatre Hall of Fame and Dearborn Area Theatre Association.
Timothy Harrison, vice president of the Southwestern Outer Drive Neighborhood Association, recalls his experiences with Van Dorp.
“In my time at HFC back in the late ’90s we would have our symphony and band concerts at the college and Dale was always there helping to set up the theater,” he said. “It didn’t matter if he knew you or not, he was always so friendly and helpful.”
Harrison also remembers Van Dorp’s message at the annual Homecoming.
“When we were kids my brother got lost coming back from the playground, he remembered Dale’s message over the loud speakers that if you got lost to go to the Police Command Post by the Old Stone Bridge,” Harrison said. “Homecoming is not going to be the same without his voice echoing across Ford Field.”
A memorial for Van Dorp is set for 1 p.m. June 7 in the Guido Theater inside the Ford Center, 15801 Michigan Ave.
The city will release more information in the coming weeks regarding the memorial.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected].)