John Anthony Dolan
Reunited with his wife, Deloris, on Saturday, June 18, 2022, age 96. Loving dad of Mary Pat (Glenn) Fieber, Bill (Melody), Jim (Joy), Joanne (Wesley) Gray, John (Janet), Kathleen (Gary) Kaltenbach, Phil, Erin (Bill) Baermann, Chris (Alice) and Patrick (Kim). Proud grandpa of 34 grandchildren and 41 great grandchildren. Also survived by many other relatives and friends. Preceded in death by sisters, Patricia and Bette, brother Phil, daughter-in-law Michelle, and grandchildren Stephanie Gray, Fiona Hagie, and Ian Dolan.
As Dad lost both his Mother and Father by the time he was about 7 or 8 years old, he was brought up by the Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus on Kavanagh Place in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, their Northern Province Motherhouse. He moved back and forth between the Home and various foster families. At one point during his early teen years he was a messenger for Western Union, delivering telegrams by bicycle. During WWII, at the age of 17 he signed up with the Merchant Marines. He was assigned to an oil tanker ship and found himself in the middle of the war sailing the Nazi-patrolled Murmansk Run to Russia delivering cargoes of precious oil to our then allies which they needed to keep artillery, etc. running. He was one of the lucky survivors of that portion of the war. He also sailed to many other ports around the world. After his tour with the Merchant Marines he returned to Milwaukee and found himself drafted into the U. S. Army. The war had just ended; he was sent to Fort Lewis, Washington where they trained him to be a surgical tech and was then shipped off to Japan during the United States’ post-war occupation. When he left for Japan, Mom gave him a wallet-size photo of herself………..he carried that photo in his wallet for 76 years… till the day he died.
Dad met Mom when he was 12 years old. She was his sister Pat’s best friend during grade school and through high school. Pat had been taken in by a foster family, the Hanrahan’s who lived in Mom’s neighborhood. They married in May of 1948, and raised 6 sons and 4 daughters….us.
Dad became a crack arc welder and plied his trade at various companies, Heil, Harnischfeger, Wisconsin Bridge & Iron, etc., building giant cranes and other heavy equipment.
Dad always liked to sing…he knew the words to a lot of popular songs. Later in life, in the 1970’s or 1980’s, he joined the MenoHARmonee barbershop chorus. He absolutely loved it ! The group put on two shows every year at “Cabaret” performance nights at St. James Parish in Menomonee Falls.
Also around that time, on one Father’s Day, his present from us was a ride in an airplane at Timmerman Field where the pilot at one point let him handle the controls. He was HOOKED ! He began flying lessons shortly after that and continued to fly small planes for his own enjoyment for the next 20 years or so until Mom became ill with MG.
Dad and Mom loved spending time in St. Germain with all their kids and grandkids (a/k/a Grandma’s little “Cookies”) every summer. We will dearly miss them both now.
He was very proud of his veteran status with the Merchant Marine and the Army. He went on the Honor Flight in 2012, and our brother Bill was his companion on that wonderful trip and memorable Welcome Home celebration at Mitchell International.
He left this world under his own command, his way. The day he was admitted to the hospital he said “I’m outta gas….I think this is the end of the line.” He was anxious to his Deloris and his God.
Visitation will be held at Mother of Good Counsel, 6924 West Lisbon Avenue, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on Friday, July 1, 2022, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM. Mass of Christian Burial at 12:00 PM. Burial to follow at Wisconsin Memorial Park.
He was proud of all of us. We will miss his sense of humor and his funny made-up little ditties (“Little fly on the wall aint’t you got no clothes at all?…”) We will miss his smile and his powder blue eyes and just his presence in a room. We love you forever Dad. 😊