Atlanta and Georgia Mourn the Passing of Favorite Son Tommy W. Dortch

Atlantans from all walks of life are staggered from the loss of beloved entrepreneur and advocate Tommy w. Dortch. Dortch, 72, pass on Wednesday, Feb. 15 after a protracted and valiant battle with cancer.

During his life and career was an integral part in building a world class city and a establishing a legacy worthy of international recognition. Dortch, who was a standard bearer for development with dignity was also a leading architect of Atlanta and the South’s rise on the national stage.

Mayor Andre Dickens expressed his sadness over the loss of Dortch in this statement:

And Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens wrote, “This is a sad day for our city. We have lost another soldier. Tommy Dortch wasn’t born in Atlanta. He came here to attend school, and never left. And Atlanta is the better for it. Whether during his days in government or during his tenure leading 100 Black Men of Atlanta and later 100 Black Men of America, Tommy never lost sight of his mission. Long before we called it diversity, equity and inclusion, Tommy was hard at work in that space. In matters of equity, not too much happened here that Tommy wasn’t involved in. Tommy was a connector and a facilitator. He knew how to get the right people together to make something good happen for Atlanta. He was also a tireless advocate for our young people. When we decided that 2023 would be Atlanta’s Year of the Youth, I knew that I could count on him sharing his support and wisdom. Tommy once said that he wanted his legacy to be that he put our young people first. Without question, mission accomplished.”

The Atlanta City Council issued the following statement after the passing of Thomas Dortch Jr.:

“It was clear Thomas Dortch Jr. loved his community, which is why he worked so hard for it. He was a trailblazer, a community advocate, and a renowned speaker with a sharp intellect and a public servant’s heart. As we reflect on his life, we extend our most heartfelt condolences to his family and friends. The city of Atlanta will miss his inspiring example, but his life and his service to the community will always be celebrated and remembered.”

But Dortch’s influence and impact extend beyond Atlanta’s city limits and the Georgia state line.
Informed people used to call men like Dortch power brokers – now they are called influencers – but both term falls far short of describing the vastness of his commitment to community and improving life for Atlantans, African Americans and all citizens.

Early in his career as a burgeoning leader in the business community, back when Atlanta was becoming the Mecca for Black people, the natural and affable humanitarian helped usher in an era of remarkable growth and helped guide the course of Atlanta’s explosion onto the national – and ultimately international stage.

Born April 12, 1950 in Toccoa, Georgia, Dortch attended Fort Valley State University where he earned a B.A. in sociology in 1972, which is also the year he became a bona fide activist and immersed himself in the fight for disenfranchised people throughout the state of Georgia.

“Tommy had that thing … He was a class act, unparalleled in so many ways. He was next level, before the term became a popular colloquialism,” said native Atlanta and businessman Alonzo Edward.

In 1994, after more than 16 years of government service, first as the associate director of the Georgia Democratic Party and later as the first African American State Director of the GDC, Dortch left his prestigious position to pursue his own business interests. He became CEO of the consulting firm TWD, Inc. and Atlanta Transportation Systems, Inc., a Fulton County paratransit company.

Dortch worked tirelessly to represent the interests of small businesses, minorities, and other marginalized individuals.

The really great people are extraordinarily good people.

Dortch, a tall and strikingly handsome humanitarian, generously shared his time, experience and expertise at any and every encounter. He didn’t miss or shy from an opportunity to actively, openly and earnestly engage in and support the causes that most mattered to Atlantans and Black people throughout the city and the country.

And the reason Tommy Dortch was so well versed on the issues and so intricately involved is because he listened to the people to better understand their needs and provided them with ample access to people and resources.

Dortch worked tirelessly to represent the interests of small businesses, minorities, and other marginalized individuals.

The remarkably and authentically good guy was frequently in the trenches fighting to bring the dream to fruition, people to prosperity and the possibilities to reality.

Sen. Raphael Warnock tweeted, “Deeply saddened to hear my friend Thomas “Tommy” Dortch, Jr. of 100 Black Men of America has passed away. He was a trailblazer whose decades of leadership in the community moved Georgia forward and paved the way for so many who have come behind him. Praying for his family & many friends.”

Thomas Dortch has won numerous awards highlighting his achievements, including a Presidential Citation for volunteerism, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Distinguished Service Award, and the Concerned Black Clergy’s Salute to Black Fathers Leadership Award. Dortch has four children.
Dortch’s passing is an enormous loss.

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