MORE ONLINE: To see more photos of Jack's treehouse, find this story at www.dailytidings.com
An outdoor memorial for 10-year-old Jack Dorr, who died May 16 of brain cancer, will honor him as a bright and fun-loving boy who had an uncanny knack for living in the moment and lifting everyone's spirits.
The memorial, led by the Rev. Norma Burton of Unity in Ashland, will be held at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, May 31, at Lithia Park's Butler Band Shell. It will feature bagpipes and other live music and selected testimonials. Up to 1,000 people are expected, said friend Kathleen Kane.
"Jack made an immense impact on everyone who knew him," she said.
Jack's mother, Trish Dorr, wrote on her CaringBridge blog that Lithia Park was "a place he loved to run around and gather with community. If you have some blue, it would be a nice thing to wear, as he loves the color and surrounded himself with it! I like that people will be able to gather with their families on blankets at the park, hold each other close, and gather to think of a sweet, courageous, intelligent boy that I love intensely."
Jack battled cancer of the brain over the last year-and-a-half, undergoing frequent radiation and chemotherapy, with visits to Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland. This spring, Adroit Construction built Jack a bi-level treehouse nestled in pines behind his house. It was supported by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Jack was "active and energetic ... especially on the Helman School playground where he was king of chase, always ready for an adventure and super in the moment," said family friend Stacy Poole.
"Even as he went through different stages with his cancer and had to modify his movements, he continued to show such strength and blew us all away with his positive attitude and ability to stay in the moment."
His kindergarten teacher, Tia McLean, recalled, "He was tremendously wise beyond his years. Ridiculously smart in so many ways. His reading, Lego-ing, prose, silliness. I imagine all the things he was, that many of us hope to someday become, but he just already was ... an engineer, architect, zookeeper, paleontologist, beautiful singer (when he let you hear him sing), author, artist, chocolate connoisseur, botanist, builder, ornithologist, cartographer, vulcanologist, traveler, and best of all, world-class snuggler."
Kelly Martin, his teacher last year, said, "I think of his mom, Trish, and his sister, Alex. I have never met a little family who were closer, more loving, or more spirited than Jack, Alex and Trish. They shared such an enviable bond that I always felt fortunate to witness.
"All three of them can be a little shy when they are alone, but when they are together they become a whirlwind of laughter, silliness, dancing, games, pillow fights, and uninhibited joy."
John Darling is a freelance writer living in Ashland. E-mail him at email@example.com.
(Correction: This story has been updated with the correct date of death and type of cancer.)