RACINE Lifelong resident and former state Sen. Henry Dorman, whose political career ended in controversy, died at St. Mary's Medical Center Monday at age 82.
An attorney by profession, Dorman entered public service in 1956 as a county supervisor and served one two-year term.
He was elected to the Wisconsin Senate in 1965 and served there until 1978. During part of that time he was chairman of the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee. By later in his political career he was considered one of the state Senate's most influential leaders.
In 1976, Dorman turned down a judgeship offered to him by the governor. In a letter to Gov. Patrick Lucey, Dorman said his decision to decline stemmed from the numerous calls, letters and telegrams urging him to remain in Madison as a senator.
However, Dorman's political career ended rudely in 1978 when the 14-year state senator was trounced by political newcomer Joseph Strohl in the Democratic primary, despite Dorman's endorsement from organized labor.
By then, his image had been tarnished. In 1976 he was publicly criticized, accused of nepotism for hiring his 22-year-old daughter as his administrative assistant.
In April 1978 Dorman was indicted for alleged abuses of state telephone credit cards. And his mailing of many thousands of state road maps at taxpayer expense as part of his election campaign that year backfired at the polls.
Dorman graduated from Horlick High School in 1935 and the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1940. He was active in the Racine County Bar Association and the Wisconsin State Bar Association.
He graduated from the UW-Madison Law School and practiced law in Racine until he retired in 1991.
As a member of various legal committees, Dorman assisted in setting up legal aid offices in the Racine County Courthouse. He was also active in a variety of organizations including the Junior Chamber of Commerce, Red Cross, March of Dimes and American Legion.
Dorman enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps, became a cadet in 1943 and was a lieutenant for nearly two years. During World War II he attended Yale University's officer candidate school and was a communications officer.
Funeral services will be held at Beth Israel Sinai Temple, 944 Main St., Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.
Family members have requested that memorials should be sent to a charity of one's choice.
Dorman is survived by his wife and four daughters.