The Dobson Legacy - 45 Years
Tim and Jennifer Dobson
It seems like just yesterday that Elwyn and Helen Dobson from Vassar received the phone call that every parent dreads. It was May 9, 1980 and the police were calling with bad news.
Their son, Ron Dobson, his wife Janet, and their two children, Tim and Jennifer, were traveling on Ron's private airplane to a wedding in Canada when tragedy struck. Ron's oil pump on the plane froze up and the plane crashed. Ron and the children had been killed and Janet was not likely to live. The shock was immediate and devastating to all. As Janet fought for her life in the hospital Ron's parents and four sisters struggled to make sense of this tragic blow to their family. Janet went on to beat the odds and was discharged from a trauma hospital more than two months later.
In August of 1980, L. Brooks Patterson (1939-2019), Ron's best friend and, at that time, Prosecuting Attorney for Oakland County, held a memorial golf outing for Ron and the children; The Dobson Open. That first year Mr. Patterson raised around $2,300 and donated the money to a scholarship fund in the children's' names.
From that humble beginning has evolved what is now today the Rainbow Connection, a Michigan based 501(c)(3) charity dedicated to granting wishes for Michigan children diagnosed with life threatening illnesses who are literally fighting for their lives. From something as simple as a computer or as unique as meeting the President of the United States at The White House or a glorious trip to Disney World, The Rainbow Connection has fulfilled over 4,000 wishes in the name of Ron, Timothy and Jennifer Dobson.