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James (Jim) Kent Doran, 84, passed away after an illness on February 2, 2024, surrounded by his loved ones.
Jim led a full and extraordinary life, from his childhood in a small Iowa farm town to working as a builder and roughneck in the oil fields and later traveling the globe. He was a talented athlete, winning an Iowa high-school championship as the sole member of a one-man track team and later running for Bill Bowerman's famed track program at the University of Oregon. Picking up cross-country skiing as a hobby, he traveled to Europe as an alternate for the U.S. Nordic Ski Team. After concluding his athletic pursuits, Jim lived and worked abroad for several years and then returned to the States as a cameraman for ABC's sports and news divisions, settling down in New Jersey with Margie, his beloved wife of 37 years, and his son Chad. He produced an award-winning documentary on Olympian Dan Gable, a fellow Iowan, and won an Emmy Award for coverage of the 1989 New York City Marathon. In addition to his news and media expertise, Jim was an inventor and small businessman and an avid reader and conversationalist. He could fix anything, build anything, and took pride in being able to solve any problem with his unique combination of determination, know-how, and Midwestern practicality.
Jim had a front-row seat as history unfolded, traveling to war zones, international summits, and everything in between. He had extraordinary stories to tell, and regaled his family and friends with tales of covering Olympic races, watching dictatorships fall, meeting royalty and presidents, and chasing terrorists and hijackers with a camera in his hand. His narratives demonstrated the value of hard work and grit, as when he dug his family's swimming pool by hand after contractors turned down the project as impossible. In hearing how he put himself through college with an overnight foundry job, or how he helped a coworker escape from behind the Iron Curtain in the dead of night, his listeners often came to a new appreciation of their own advantages and opportunities. His tales of warzone experiences epitomized his quick thinking and pragmatism, whether he was negotiating safe passage from a local warlord or writing up his crew's armed guards as "technical support" so their expense reports would be approved by the pencil-pushers back home.
In retirement, Jim moved with Margie to Maryland and immersed himself wholeheartedly in his new role as grandfather to his six grandchildren, who were his pride and joy. Jim's love language was acts of service, and he logged countless hours picking his grandchildren up from school, taking them to get ice cream, fixing their toys, and attending their many baseball games, track meets, honor society inductions, graduations, riding shows, and school performances. They spent joy-filled days at his house, enjoying the swingset and batting cage that he built by hand and listening to his many captivating stories over popcorn, popsicles and soda.
Jim is survived by his son Chad Doran (Patricia) and his six grandchildren, James Doran, Claire Doran, Catherine Doran, Julia Doran, Conor Doran and Mary Doran. He is survived as well by daughter Kimberly Schultz (Steve), grandchildren Corey Schulz and Ragina Schulz, daughter Kristine Gomis and granddaughter Sadie Gomis; his siblings, Robert Doran (Shirley), Caroline Woods (the late Thomas Woods) and Graydon Nodurft; and many other family and friends. He is preceded in death by his wife, Margaret Doran; his parents Carl Doran and Imogene Nodurft; stepfather Dale Nodurft; and brother, Kent Doran.
Family and friends may gather for a visitation on Friday, February 9, 2024 from 4pm to 6pm at the Candle Light Funeral Home, 1835 Frederick Rd. Catonsville, MD 21228. A Mass of Christian Burial will take place Saturday, February 10, at 10 AM at St. Philip Neri, 6405 S Orchard Rd. Linthicum Heights, MD 21090. Burial will follow at St. John's Cemetery, 3480 St Johns Ln. Ellicott City, MD 21042.