What A Wonderful Life
Joseph Michael Dolan, aged 87, passed away on Wednesday, December 29th, at Brigham and Women's Hospital, with his wife and daughter by his side. Born in Dorchester and the only son of the late Michael and Delia (Herlihy) Dolan, he was predeceased by his sisters Margaret Curran and Mary Kelleher. He is survived by his sisters Ann Spillane of Brockton, Frances Cotter of Weymouth, Catherine Kerr of Braintree, and Julie Creel of Canton. He counted his sisters (and sisters-in-law!) as some of his dearest friends. Joe visited his parents’ birthplace, Ireland, specifically Athlone, County Meath and Annascaul, County Kerry, often before he married “his girl from Galway.”
Joe graduated from St. Mark's grammar school and B.C. High before serving in the U.S. Army in Asia. Korea, in particular, always held a special place in Joe’s heart. He spent almost every military leave visiting his neighborhood friend and Maryknoll priest, Al Keane, at the orphanage where Father Keane worked. Almost 40 years later, Dad wept upon seeing modern Seoul during the Olympic broadcast. A longtime resident of Milton, he retired in 1999 from Boston Edison after 47 years, many of them as an underground lineman. An active and proud union member, Joe staunchly advocated against deregulation in order to defend employee health and safety.
He loved to drive, and never put fewer than 200,000 miles on any car he ever owned. While Dad was a salt of the earth guy who loved ice cream and Boston sports— whether at Hemenway Park or Fenway, he was also a man who deeply treasured his Jesuit education and deeply valued critical thinking and lively debate. And speaking of debate, did he love to talk! He was genuinely curious about others, thrived on connection, and never met a stranger.
Joe was the best Dad a kid could have. He worked countless hours of overtime to give us our education, drive us to every spelling bee or gymnastics lesson, took every phone call, and counseled us through every heartache or business problem. He was always with us, no matter what city or country we found ourselves in. He leaves behind two grateful daughters, Maureen Bala (Raul) of Alameda, California, and Joanne Dolan (Robert Cheevers) of Wicklow, Ireland. Joe's greatest joy was his three grandchildren, Sarah and James Cheevers, and Joseph Bala. He is survived by the love of his life, Margaret "Nuala" Carr Dolan, to whom he was married for over 50 years.
A funeral Mass is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. on Wed., Jan. 5th at St. Agatha’s Church, Milton. Visiting hour prior to Mass 9:30-10:30 at Alfred D. Thomas Funeral Home. The family asks that gifts be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in place of flowers. For complete obituary, guestbook and link to view the live streaming, see www.alfreddthomas.com.
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