Vicarious vacations 12: Paris, 1967

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THEN: In 1967, the Rev. Theodore and Cherry Dorpat face each other before the 1,063-foot Eiffel Tower. The river Seine flows in front of the photographer.(Courtesy Paul Dorpat)
NOW: The same setting today, with two Retro Tour staff (center) leading four Chicagoans on a motorcycle sidecar swing through Paris. (Bérangère Lomont)
Paris, 1967
A highlight of their lives
The Rev. Theodore and Cherry Dorpat
By Jean Sherrard

As World War I ended in 1918, the Rev. Theodore “Ted” Dorpat was ordained by the Lutheran church. His pastorates traversed Minnesota, Montana and North Dakota before he settled in Spokane, where he was renowned for inspiring sermons, a plummy voice and palpable charisma.

A grateful congregation marked his 50th ecclesiastical year with a generous gift. For Pastor Ted and his wife Cherry, they funded a European vacation.

The pastor’s son, Paul Dorpat, historian and founder of our “Now & Then” column, allows that the 1967 trip was to be their only venture abroad and certainly a highlight of their lives.

“My dad was fluent in German,” notes Paul, whose basso profundo tones echo his father’s, “so I’d expect that their tour extended to a few German-speaking countries as well.”

Examining the photo of the reverend and his wife, gazing fondly at each other with the Eiffel Tower behind them, members of Dorpat clan note that Cherry is wearing her Sunday best with her usual pink hat.

No recordings exist of Pastor Ted, who died in the mid-1980s. But Jack Arkills, a member of his congregation and a boyhood friend of Paul, believes that he later heard the reverend’s reverberant tones. During life-saving surgery following a work accident, Jack describes a near-death experience:

“I was in a dark tunnel heading toward a bright light. Before I could go on, a familiar voice told me to turn back, that it wasn’t my time. It sounded just like Pastor Dorpat.”

VIDEO (9:32):Click the photo to see Paul Dorpat talk of his parents’ 1967 trip to Paris. (Jean Sherrard)

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