Dorrs Business Career
After the war Dorr went to work for OG&E as a Mechanical Design Engineer specializing in air conditioning. The boys liked it when he would bring home "Redi Kilowatt" pins.In February 1948 he responded to an ad in the newspaper for a position with C. Robert Ingram, a local air conditioning company. He had applied for a job with Ingram when he got out of the war but for some reason ended up working for OG&E. He started as a sales engineer making $400 a month. He loved to sell and this let him use his engineering background also. A year later he became the sales manager.
In 1953 Ingram wanted to get out of the contracting business and become the distributor for Chrysler Airtemp. He had been in the contracting business since 1936. He offered to sell the contracting side of the business to Dorr for $50,000. Dorr thought this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and was anxious to take advantage of it. He knew he could never raise the required money, so he asked his lead sales engineer, Lewis Carter, Jr. to become a partner. That still required him to raise $25,000. With the cash he had and insurance loans, he had $10,000. He then tried to get Uncle Dewitt and Uncle Robert Trotter to loan him the money. He finally brought in A. E. Julius, the service manager for Ingram as a minor partner, and received backing from a group of about ten Oklahoma City businessmen including C. R. Anthony and B. D. Eddie. This is how Kent received his middle name. Lewis was lucky in that his father-in-law gave him the $25,000.
Thus Comfort, Inc. began November 1, 1953 as an air condition/heating contractor. They started out doing better residences, but later took on larger office and commercial buildings such as hospitals. The first year they leased a portion of Ingrams building, then built their own 10,000-square foot building the second year on West Main. Ingram lost his Airtemp distributorship that second year and it was offered to Comfort. Thus Comfort was the state distributor for Chrysler Airtemp as well as contractors. Ten years later they built a much larger 20,000-square foot building on NE 34th and later added another 15,000 square feet. Comfort did very well over the years and had a good reputation. We were able to take a number of nice trips, going to the various Chrysler meetings in addition to the trips he won. Both Ed and Dana worked at Comfort in the summers. Comfort used a polar bear, "Comfy, " as a logo for the company. Dorr asked me to make a polar bear suit which the kids would wear at home shows and other events.
In 1961 Dorr and Carter created a company called C&D Investments where they invested in a number of ventures. These included drilling eight gas and oil wells, building post offices in small towns and then leasing them back to the government, and building a 40-unit apartment building on NE 50th. They also owned the Comfort building that is now leased to the state.
At the end of 1979 he sold his interest in Comfort to Carter and retired, although he kept his office in the Comfort building that they owned on NE 34th. He went to the office from about 11:00 to 4:00 each day, mainly to get out of the house and be around people. In 1991 he stopped going to his office in the Comfort building and created an office in the upstairs toy room. Later when his knees got so bad, he moved his office to the little nursery that we had off our bedroom. It did not give him as much room, but was much better for him.
Dorr always had some type of sideline business going, especially in the early years. He and a friend at work, Von Gotten, had the Wallmaster franchise and cleaned walls, ceilings and grease ducts in restaurants in the evenings. He would call on a client during the day in a suit to sell air conditioning, and then at night wear greasy overalls to clean the ducts. They also built and sold cooling towers. Most large systems back then were water-cooled. Another venture was building leisure chairs.
He set B. up in a small business called Dorco Sales. Dad bought them a house on North Western where B.s family lived, and then built a small display room on the back of the house. B. then would go door to door selling room air conditioning units. They also sold covers to go over room units in the wintertime. Uncle B. was a wonderful man and would do anything to help anyone. He just did not have the knack for making money. He loved to play tennis and when he was young he was a frequent visitor to the pool halls. In his later years he would go around to yard sales and other type of sales buying used clothing. The idea was he would then resell them at a profit or give them to the needy. The only trouble was that he never got around to selling anything. I believe he ended up with a garage full of clothing at the time he died in Norman.
Dorr was never real active in civic or social activities in Oklahoma City. He was active in the downtown Lions Club, and in two breakfast clubs that met on Thursday and Friday. One was the Executive Association Club that had about fifty members, each from a different type of business. They were supposed to do business with each other. I always bought Rainbow bread because the Rainbow man was in the club. The other was the Tip Club that had about twenty members and you had to give a tip each week where someone could get business. He also went to the Sales Executive club once a month. He played poker once a month with a group of guys for years. For some reason Dorr enjoyed going to the Cattlemen's Cafe down at the stockyards and having brains and eggs. Pat has the original counter from the Cattlemen's Cafe in his museum in Stillwater.
Dorr was always pulling crazy stunts. When the Beatles were popular, he and three of his friends paraded through a downtown restaurant with Beatle wigs on. They carried a tape player with Beatles music playing. Another time when Ed was young, he put Ed in the front yard with a sign that said "$1.00 to Park" when his poker buddies arrived.
Dorrs and my idea of a good time was to go out to Twin Hills Country Club after we got the boys in bed and sit out on the north porch and have a few drinks. (It was enclosed.) Also whenever a big name band came to town we would always go. Dorr also enjoyed going fishing; that was about the only thing I knew he could do without moving around. We went up to Lake Carl Blackwell quite a few times.
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