Dorsey, Peter 99, of Minneapolis, died peacefully at his home on September 12. Peter is survived by his wife, Patricia Elfstrand, his children Sheila, Cynthia, Justin (Colleen), and Sage (Lynne), his stepdaughter, Amy (Marcelo), 10 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren. Peter was born in 1922, the fourth of five children of James and Mary (Toomey) Dorsey. He graduated from Blake in 1940 and headed to Harvard. World War II interrupted his undergraduate education when, in 1942, he enlisted in the United States Army. After airborne training, he was assigned as a lieutenant in the 77th Infantry Division and sent into combat on Okinawa. Following the Japanese surrender, he served in the Army of Occupation in the city of Sapporo until his discharge in 1946. Peter then returned to Harvard to finish his undergraduate degree, after which he entered Harvard Law School. He graduated in 1949 and returned to Minneapolis to begin practicing law with his father's law firm, now known as Dorsey & Whitney. He retired from that firm in 1994. During his 45-year career, Peter built a reputation as a skilled and successful trial lawyer who was respected by both judges and adversaries. But it was the high regard in which his clients held him that really set Peter apart. They were uncommonly loyal to him. The appreciation and gratitude they felt for him could easily be attributed to his keen intellect, quick wit and genuine concern. But Peter would say the key to his close relationships with his clients was simply that he liked them, and he let them know he did. Peter also played a key role in local legal services organizations. He served as president of the Minnesota Civil Liberties Union, and he represented defendants in Sen. Joe McCarthy's anti-communist witch-hunt hearings. In addition, he was instrumental in the formation of the Legal Rights Center, which serves indigent clients, particularly Native Americans, in the Twin Cities. As Dorsey & Whitney's internal notice of his passing aptly concluded: "Peter was a generous and giving person who watched out for those who needed help -- he was also a great lawyer, a bon vivant, and an irreverent, funny, straight-talking, and warm friend to countless people." Throughout his long life, Peter remained a caring and supportive father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He was also the favorite uncle and great-uncle to his extended family. In retirement, he loved nothing more than getting in the car with Patti and their dog and heading west to his sacred spot - La Jolla, CA. Along the way, they always stopped to visit his many children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren who live in Oregon. When the long road trips became too arduous, he settled in for good at his and Patti's home in Minneapolis. There, his greatest pleasure was to sit in his old reading chair, surrounded by his beloved books, and visit with the many friends and family members who stopped by to see him. Peter was a born and bred Minneapolis man. The city of his birth was his lifelong home. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him. A memorial gathering will be held at the Minneapolis Club, 729 2nd Ave. So., on Wednesday, Oct. 6, from 5 to 7 pm. Vaccination and mask required.

Published on September 19, 2021