MAY 16, 1929 - JANUARY 28, 2020 Robert (Bob) Dorn, a gentle, loving, compassionate soul, left this world January 28, 2020. He died peacefully in his sleep at the age of 90, surrounded by loved ones. Bob was loved by many and renowned for his passion, dedication and innovative expertise in the field of leadership development. Though he has passed, he will never be forgotten. His presence will be greatly missed. Born on May 16, 1929, in Cranford, N.J., he was one of four sons of first-generation German parents, Charles Gustav Dorn and Myrna Lillian Somer. After an active childhood of running free in vacant lots and nearby woods, Bob's intellectual curiosity and creative view of the world drew him to Northwestern University to pursue a major in Art. While there, he played football, was an avid sailor, married, raised a family of four children. He simultaneously worked various jobs, supported his family, and put himself through graduate school. There he earned a B.S. in Psychology (1951), a masters at Bradley University (1958), and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the Southern Illinois University (1964). As part of his clinical studies at SIU, Bob performed psychological tests and observations of patients confined in a psychiatric hospital. As Assistant Chief Psychologist at Anna State Hospital of Illinois, his job was to judge their mental competence and decide which privileges they should receive based on his findings, such as weekend release or even discharge from the hospital. Uneasy with the omnipotent nature of this role, he defied the established hospital protocols by sharing the results of the assessments directly with the patients. He would use them to help the patients understand how they were perceived based on their behavior, then coach them on identifying and sustaining new behaviors that would help them achieve their goals. These practices later became standard protocols of mental healthcare and the roots of executive coaching. Later in life, Bob moved his family to a training center in the U.S. Virgin Islands to work as an assessment officer and trainer for the Peace Corps. For the next several years, he conducted long-term studies comparing his developed method with the existing selection and training methods for Peace Corps trainees seeking to become volunteers. His methods of "Assessment for Development" gave extensive feedback and coaching to the trainees. They proved to be so successful that in 1968, Bob moved to Peace Corps headquarters in Washington, D.C. as Director of Programs and Operations in the Office of Selection. Desiring yet more positive influence in the world, Bob joined the Smith Richardson Foundation in Greensboro, N.C. in 1969. Shortly thereafter, this organization founded the Center for Creative Leadership with a mission to advance leadership "for the benefit of society worldwide." As Director of Leadership Development at CCL, Bob and his colleagues pioneered numerous advances in the field of leadership development and executive coaching and in doing so impacted the lives of hundreds of thousands of leaders across the globe. Bob retired from CCL in 1994. Aside from his passion for helping people, Bob was also known to be a lover of animals and nature. He was one that often stopped to save a turtle in the road or take house bugs outside to spare them. He enjoyed boating and shared his love of water, nature, and sunshine with his family on lakes in Illinois, in the Virgin Islands, and later in N.C. as captain of his Boston Whaler. Bob leaves behind his son and 3 daughters; 7 granddaughters; 1 great grandson; and 1 surviving brother. For his children and their children, his biggest desire was that they were truly happy, and that they followed their own value-driven choices independent of others' or societal expectations. Fitting tributes to Bob would be performing an act of kindness to a stranger, hugging someone you love, enjoying a good (or any) bourbon, treating yourself to an ice cream with chocolate syrup, or enjoying a boat ride. Donations may be made in lieu of flowers to: Friends of the Virgin Islands National Park, P.O. Box 811, St. John VI 00831. A gathering to celebrate his life will be held June 19th at the CCL. Please visit the Forever Missed website for details.
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