Learthen Dorsey was born on March 8, 1941 to the late George Edward Dorsey Sr. and Hattie Lee Robinson-Dorsey in Deering, Missouri. He was the second youngest of 11 children.
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Learthen was educated in Missouri and later moved to Pittsburgh, PA with his family; where he graduated in 1959, from Schenley High School.
Learthen furthered his education at Penn State University, where he received his undergraduate degree. After graduating from Penn State, Learthen served in the U.S. Army. He then went on to Michigan State University, where he earned his PhD. Learthen was an educator beginning his teaching career at Michigan State University, teaching history. He taught a few years at Clemson University and then moved to Nebraska where he was a history professor for 20 years at the University of Nebraska. Learthen finished his teaching career and move back to Pittsburgh in 2015.
Learthen leaves to cherish his memory his brother, Jeff Dorsey; two sister-in-laws Peggy from Holden, Massachusetts and Magnolia Dorsey from Jonesboro, Georgia; his nephew and caretaker, Paul Roberts; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins who will miss him dearly.
Learthen was preceded in death by his parents, George Sr. and Hattie Lee Dorsey; his brothers, George Edward Dorsey Jr., John (Jake) Dorsey Sr. , LeRoy Dorsey, Waymon Dorsey, Harrison Dorsey, Robert Dorsey; and three sisters Ethel Williams, Louella Roberts, and Betty Ann Dorsey.